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Sohoitis X: Hugo Williams Interview Special

By Sophie Parkin.

Sohoitis X: Hugo Williams Interview Special

Hugo Williams — poet (b. 1942. Dear Room, Faber)


3:AM: What was/is your most precious (in all senses of the word!) moment to write about?

HW: Lying in bed watching a girl undress.

3:AM: What makes you smile to your toes?

HW: My grandaughter Silver’s perceptions of the world; she’s 5.

3:AM: When did you write your best first line and what was it?

HW: ‘God, give me the strength to lead a double life’ 1990. It’s the first and last line of my poem, “Prayer”.

3:AM: How do you know when to end it?

HW: After you’ve worked on it for about 79 hours. The longer you write poetry the more you come to understand the work it takes.

3:AM: If a club would have you as member, which would it be?

HW: The Garrick would be nice. You never know.

3:AM: Which is your most romantic place in the world?

HW: The Algarve in the 1970’s was heaven.

3:AM: Which is the most sordid place on earth?

HW: South of the River (except Streatham).

3:AM: What or who would make you behave heroically?

HW: The pain of a loved one.

3:AM: Where’s the best place to eat, and what is it you are eating?

HW: Noodle soup for £4.50 in China China, Gerard St., Soho. Closed now but one can hope.

3:AM: How important are dreams?

HW: Not very to me. Mine are about washing up and slicing bread — very banal — but then my poems are rather prosey…

3:AM: Was Philip Larkin right?

HW: Always right.

3:AM: Why do you think the sky is blue?

HW: God, I’ve forgotten.

3:AM: Do you believe in a God?

HW: Don’t know.

3:AM: What do you think we should know about you?

HW: That a happy life doesn’t always make one happy.

[Hugo Williams appears at the 3:AM PP at the Green Carnation on Tuesday 2 December]

Sophie Parkin has written seven published books. Three grown-up novels (you can’t say adult, otherwise people think they might be pornography): All Grown Up, Take Me Home and Dear Goddess. For teenagers there is French for Kissing, Best of Friends, and Mad, Rich and Famous. She has also contributed to four other books, from short stories, true stories, long stories, to poetry. Mothers by Daughters, Sons and Mothers both published by Virago, Girls Just Want To Have Fun: the Cosmopolitan book of short stories, and POT 05 – Anthology of Poetry edited by Michael Horovitz. Her new book, Bazaar Nights and Camel Bites (Piccadilly Press), a teenage novel set in Tangiers and London, is out now. Sophie Parkin holds a monthly 3:AM Magazine/Pen Pusher bash — the 3:AM PP — at the Green Carnation in London.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, November 29th, 2008.