Interview: The Toronto Quarterly

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Here’s an interview where I admit my formative (and I stress: since reformed) rabidity for all things Morrissey.

TTQ – What inspired you to start writing poetry and who were some of your early influences or mentors?

Stevie Howell – In the beginning, there was The Smiths. I got into them in 1988 and they’d already split, which took me all year to learn, and it didn’t stop me. I had them looping for about 5 years, even on earphones while I slept. I identified with Morrissey’s loser themes, but I didn’t understand any of his references. I thought, this other stuff in his lyrics must also be for me? So I’d go to the library and ask, ‘What’s “A Taste of Honey?’ ‘Who’s Keats?”’ Ballad of Reading Gaol was the first poem I remember reading. Had a big Oscar Wilde phase. Everything by James Baldwin. W.H. Auden, especially The Sea and The Mirror. Baldwin and Auden are my Bible and Catechism.

Read the rest here.