The Invisible Girl is Elly Nobbs’ first pamphlet published by Doire Press, after she won their competition. Those of us who have been enjoying Elly’s work for years think she deserved this ages ago so many thanks to Doire for recognising her wonderful work. I think this is a magical book, charged with a vibrant inner life and a questing mind. Elly makes new connections between curiosities in her own life and in the wider world in a tender and affectionate way and often to devastating effect. She knows what she is doing!
So, I couldn’t resist asking her a few questions:
Q1. Although I already knew the poem, All I want is a pony, and (it is on Featured Writers already) I was choked up to see this as the first poem. It was, for me, like experiencing this apparently simple but really astonishing poem for the first time all over again. What was your thinking as you selected and ordered the poems?
E:It seemed natural for me to start with poems triggered by memories of how it felt to grow up on a farm. I wanted to acknowledge and honour my roots . But I no longer live in a rural community. I’ve lived in the city for many years now. Otherwise the ordering of the poems is a bit of a hodge-podge.
Q2. The title of your book is The Invisible Girl. This is a very wise and magical title and suggests we all carry around an invisible girl or boy within us, too. The central poem, Space Ship Captain, ends with ‘…and she’s invincible’…. were the two words, invisible and invincible, consciously connected?
E: As a kid, I had an invisible friend/alter ego – Jonny Kane, Space Ship Captain. Jonny left – when I was 8 or 9 – I’m not exactly sure now. But I’ve never forgotten him. In the last few years, I’ve started to look for him again. “Space Ship Captain” is the one poem I wrote new specifically for The Invisible Girl. The book title came to me after I’d chosen the painting I’d wanted for the cover (one of my husband’s – I knew that I wanted to use one of his). But after I had the book title, I wanted to have a poem which actually showed the invisible girl in action. And it eventually turned out to a way to include Jonny too – annd connect these two characters. Invisibility- like everything in life – has advantages and disadvantages. But yes, I made a conscious decision – Jonny & T.I.G. are both invincible. I wanted to explore the strengths of the inner life, the imagination and the spirit – and to see where it could take us all – if we keep open to possibilities.
YES, Elly, thanks so much for that. For further information:
Elly blogs at ellyfromearth.wordpress.com/ and you can see more about The Invisible Girl there and read her reviews.
Although I have many favourites here is one of them(hope the formatting stays where it should, naughty wordpress!):
Elmira Sweetheart –
On my slow
I gather up
twigs, the deadwood
from hedges and
sheets of drybark
from rotted trees; they look
like torn pages
from books;I snap
in half to make
to start raging fires, every
evening, this winter; they will
help keep my old lovers
all stacked now, neatly
in rows, next to the cook stove
in the kitchen,
to go crackle, stay hot
Elly’s footnote: The Sweetheart is a high-efficiency, airtight wood-burning, cooking stove with ‘lustrous nickel trim’ in the syle of some late nineteenth century stoves – manuufactured by the Elmira Stove Works, Canada in the 1980s; now by Heartland and I owned one in the 1990’s