Zemra Shqiptare


Zyba Hysa: Scottish poet, Morelle Smith

| E marte, 13.05.2014, 06:55 PM |

Scottish poet, MORELLE SMITH

By Zyba Hysen Hysa

1. Morelle Smith, which is the hometown, your family and what you have childhood memories that have accompanied all life?

- I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. What I most remember of my childhood were the hot summers (we don't have now!) the heat melting the tar on the road surface, blistering the paint on doors, the canopies protecting the front doors of houses from the sun. There were also canvas awnings over shops to provide shade (which we don't have now). I remember the big square trams, double Decker. They were abolished when I was about 3 years old, and only this year, trams are coming back to Edinburgh, bright modern ones, but there's only one route, walking along cliff tops with my dog on holiday by the sea, exploring the countryside with my friend. We gave names to all the trees, fields and stream my books. From a very young age I enjoyed reading and books were my favorite Christmas and birthday presents.

2. How have you experienced adolescence and remembers what this part of the life of major physiological changes - psychological?

- Like most young people I loved to go out with my friends, particularly dancing. I was a bit rebellious and argued with my parents who were quite strict, but I was determined to do what I wanted. I didn't write much during these years, but I did become very interested in psychology and enjoyed studying at university because it meant I could read a lot of books (I studied English and French literature) and write about them.

3. When you first fell in love and love is you consider you?

- I first fell in love when I was at university. Love was always important but I was too independent and liked to travel too much, to ever really settle down.

4. What have you thought about marriage, what do you think about people with creative flair, are able to afford raising a family and how?

- Before the legal formality of marriage that is common nowadays, people used to perform private ceremonies, for their families and invited friends, as a way of announcing their commitment to each other. They were known as 'hand fasting' ceremonies, and there are quite a few people now who are returning to that tradition. I don't really like the fact that marriage is something legal, I don't think that the law should have anything to do with private relationships, although some people have argued that it protects children, in case of a divorce. And maybe it does. Personally, I have not found it easy to reconcile marriage with my own life path. I believe we all have a path to discover, to create and to walk, and to try as best we can, to be faithful to that, if that can be reconciled with partnership with another, well and good. Making a living from one's writing is quite another matter. Very few artists can do this. It can also bring the danger of prioritizing ways of making money from your writing rather than focusing on the creativity. I have preferred to make money in other ways, such as teaching.

5. Have a family, or sharing, co what is your opinion?

- When I was a student I enjoyed sharing a flat with friends. Having a family goes well with writing I found, as I wrote when the children were asleep or later, when they were at school.

6. Have inherited from poetry, or you just have this gift? When you first write poetry and have published many books (their titles) often gets inspired by that, what type of style. Yes prose and take what you have written?

- As far as I know there were no writers in my family, though my father was gifted in drawing, and my mother in music, though they did not make this their careers. I don't think my style in poetry has changed much over the years, and decades, though I tend to write shorter poems now. As for prose, people have said that it is 'poetic' and sometimes I have written something as prose but I change it a little, and turn it into a poem.

7. What do you intend to write anything, and think that just have not written to date?

- I started writing a novel several years ago, I've gone back to it a few times and written some more but I'm not sure now that I will finish it. (I have written and completed other novels since starting that one.) I think I will need to go back to the beginning and start again but I'm busy with other things in the meantime.

8.  Written anything for Albania and what do you think of our Nation Union?

- Since I lived in Albania in 2000 I have written a lot about it, poetry, stories, and nonfiction. A collection of stories, Streets of Tirana, Almost Spring was published in Tirana, in both English and Albanian, in 2004, though it is now out of print. I've published recently the Journals I wrote while I lived in Albania in 2000 (Tirana Papers). I hope soon to publish other pieces of travel writing about Albania, from the several times I have visited, and spent time in Albania.

9. Do you think that literature affects state and global politics, or just the awareness of the people?

- As Ismail Kadare said in Printemps Albanais – 'The writer is the natural enemy of a dictatorship' and in oppressive regimes literature (and the other arts too) can represent freedom of expression and reflect the experiences of individuals and of society, and so can play a very obvious part in state politics, through its resistance. Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children certainly had a global effect! I am a member of International PEN, the writer’s organization which also campaigns for writers who are imprisoned because of what they have written. Citizens of democracies might be surprised to learn how many writers are political prisoners even in so-called democratic countries. And in countries such as the UK, with a long history of freedom of expression, this freedom still has to be fought for, and cannot be taken for granted. So yes, I think that literature and the arts can most definitely affect the politics of states and so, global politics too.

10. What is your poet’s heart and what read more poetry or prose?

- Poetry is of course, read in a different way from prose, just as writing poetry is a different experience from writing prose. But there are different kinds of prose too. Some prose, both fiction and non-fiction, can come very close to poetry. The language of poetry is very condensed and so needs to be sipped like fine wine, because of its powerful effect. So I think. So in terms of quantity I read more prose. A few of my favorite poets – Emily Dickinson, Marina Tsvetaeva, Jallaladin Rumi, Rainer Maria Rilke, William Stafford, Rachel Boast. Prose writers, Laurence Durrell, Stevie Smith, Danilo Kiš, Irina Vrkljian, Rosalind Brackenbury.

11. What are some of the priorities of today's global literature? Where do you see yourself and how you think globalization in literature?

- “All events and experiences are local, somewhere” [William Stafford].

What any writer writes about is utterly personal to them. It is their own particular journey and should not in my opinion, be influenced by what might be more acceptable or in fashion whether regarding topics or style or favored by publishers. In my view, writing is a practice that is informed and affected by one's life experiences, (which of course includes the reading of other literature) and in turn it affects one's life. Authenticity to that inner impetus and to what is felt is the vitality that feeds writing. And is the main priority of any literature.

Emily Dickinson just to give one example, led a life that had limited social contacts or travel, but has become widely read, as it speaks to many people.

The positive aspect of 'global' means that literature is much more widely translated than it used to be, and we have access via the internet etc. to writing from many different parts of the world, which is a delight. We are all indebted to translators. Otherwise I would never have read some of my favourite authors, such as Danilo Kiš, Irena Vrkljan and Marina Tsvetaeva.

12. What is your job and how is a typical day for Morelle Smith?

- I've had many jobs in my life, and particularly when I was a student, I enjoyed trying different things, for example I worked delivering the Christmas mail, in offices, as a housepainter and an artist's model. But after taking my degree and completing two courses of teacher training, I've taught adults – English as a second language, French, and Creative Writing. These days I work mostly free lance, writing, editing and translating; I give readings, talks and workshops.

So a typical day would almost always begin by writing something, for example, my dreams if I remember them, (and these have sometimes given me ideas for poems or stories), journal, maybe a poem. I tend to work in the morning through to the afternoon, this varies – I might write something new, or edit my own work, do research for an article or workshop. I might edit or translate someone else's work. I am most always taking some exercise in the afternoon, walk, ride my bicycle, and do some gardening in the summer.

- Thank you, Morelle Smith!



Educated ad Edinburgh University, Ma degree in English and French Literature, (1971) I have an post - graduate Teaching Certificate a CELTA / RSA qualification to teach English as a second Language and have studied at CIEP (Centre International d’ETUDES Pedagogiques) in Sevres, France. I have been an adult educator tutor of ESOL, French Creative Writing and Astrology. I’ve also worked as Grants Assistant and Information Office in Albania. I currently work as a freelance writer, editor and translator, giving talks, readings and workshops. I travel as much possible particularly in the Balkans.


First published work (a short story) in Chapman magazine 1980. Since then I’ve had poetry and prose published in various magazine, newspapers and anthologies in UK, France, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. E.g. Chapman new writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland Anthology of Scottish Women Poets, The Herald, TLS, The Salmon, New Europe Writes, La Traductière 30, Ljubljana Tales (New Europe Writes) and New Literary Horizons (Bucharest)

Work on websites include The Dublin Quarterly Scottish Review, Balkan Travelers, Kosovo 2 Point zero, Levure Letter ire, Haiku Reality, Step away Magazine, Scottish PEN’s New Writing, Hot Metal Bridge, Textual ties etc. A full list of work published online can be found on the work on the web page of my blog River train. http://rivertrain.blogspot.com

I’ve collaborated with visual artists and photographers in exhibitions (1968, 2000, 2008) and my poetry has been displayed on transport systems in Edinburgh and Glasgow (1999-2003)

I received a Scottish Arts Council Bursary in 1994 and two Professional Development grants, 2007, 2008.

I am a former Committee member of International PEN, Scottish Branch, and was editor of the blog, http://scottish-pen.blogspot.com from 2011 to 2013.

Writes Residencies

June 2003 – Mission d’Emma, St Mathieu De Treviers, France.

July/Aug 2007 – L’Association les Avocats du Diable, Vauvert, France.

June 2008 International Translation Centre, Novi Sad Serbia.

August/September 2010 – Chateau Lavigny, Switzerland

April 2013 – Monastere de Saorge, France.

May 2013 – L’Association les Avocats du Diable Vauvert, France.

I have given readings throughout the UK and in Europe. In the past (2013)I’ve been invited to give readings in Saorge and Vauvert (France) Prizren (Kosovo), and Callander, New Brighton, Chester and Edinburgh (UK)

My work has been translated into French, Romanian, Slovenian and Albanian.

Books published –

Deepwater Terminal (diehard, 1998)

Streets of Tirana, almost Spring (Ora Publishing, Albania 2004)

The Way Words Travel (UK Authors Press 2005)

The Ravens & the Lemon Tree (diehard, 2008)

Time Loop (Playback Editions, 2010)

Gold Tracks, Fallen Fruit (The Cestrian Press, 2011)

Tirana Papers (Kairos, Textualities, 2013)

Morelle Smith

20 Fleming Place,


TD1 2TA, Scotland, UK

Tel: +44 (0)1578 760 216

Email – morellesmith@hotmail.com

Blog –   http://rivertrain.blogspot.co.uk