One brisk morning my time and afternoon her time, Julie and I sat on Skype over tea to chat about FEPC and just be girls. Julie Watkins is an administrator of Facial Expression Poetry Circle. She has been a part of the community since it’s first days on Facebook. Julie is a poet, mother, and tutor of adult education in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Writing has always been a part of her life but it’s only been in the last three years or so that she has wrote regularly. “Like the majority of poets, I don’t choose to write, writing chose me. ”
R: A lot has changed with FEPC since the last time we interviewed you. The community has moved to a new location and expanded quite a bit. First off, let us refresh our readers on how you got involved in FEPC?
J: I’d just finished a stint as a moderator on an American poetry website and returned to a couple of the Facebook poetry groups I had originally been involved in. Luke and I first encountered one another on one of these groups and very quickly struck up a friendship based on our love of poetry and respect for one another as poets. He had just set up FEPC and invited me to join. I’d had a lot of experience of critique, which Luke recognised, and he asked me fairly quickly to become an admin. I resisted for a while having held a post which was pretty full on for a year or so, and I was enjoying just posting as a relatively unknown member, but eventually agreed – Luke can be persuasive.
R: What are your feelings and thoughts about the big move?
J: The move has proved to be incredibly positive. I know many members, myself included, were a little concerned about finding a new creative home, but the Ning network has so much more to offer. We are still evolving and will continue to do so. For example we have plans to create a Learning/Resource centre where we can post tips, tutorials and links to interesting resources online.
R: Do you feel FEPC has changed? If so what changes have occurred? What has stayed the same?
J: The creative vibe that was at the very heart of the Facebook group has not only travelled with us but has positively thrived in our new environment. The quality of both the writing and the critique was always extremely high but with a newly invigorated group and a host of new members the standard and quality continues to grow. Members have relished the new features available, particularly the way the Discussion board is structured – the ability to be able to respond to individual comments has greatly enhanced the collaborative learning element of the group. The Video/Audio feature has also proved extremely popular, with many members posting video and audio files of their work, adding a whole new dimension.
R: Let’s say you peer into a crystal ball and see FEPC five years into the future, What do you see?
J: As with all environments of this nature people will come and go but I imagine the group will grow steadily and continue to provide a creative home for poets who are keen to hone their craft.
I personally would like to see the group move towards being in a position to help poets to get their work published and to gain recognition for their poetry. Luke and I are currently looking at trying to secure some funding to have a book of FEPC poetry published.
I would also like to see the profile of the group raised within the ‘real’ poetry world. There are thousands of literary events all over the world. Our own Becky Kilsby recently flew the FEPC flag at the Dubai Literary Festival, reading some of her wonderful poetry. There is no reason why this shouldn’t be happening all over the world.
R: Are there any additional thoughts you would like to share?
J: I feel very privileged to have been part of the FEPC team, almost from its inception, and look forward to seeing it continue to grow.
Thank you Julie for a wonderful interview!
Julie’s Poetry Rockpool Poetry