I was born in Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England, in the middle of a coal mining and heavy industrial area. There is a kind of provincial pride in the area of my origin. I suppose you could say I am from a mining background, both my grandfathers and I, myself have worked in the pits, although my paternal grandfather originated from Ireland and many of my father’s side are from the North East and Durham, which also has a great draw for me.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
There are two interpretations of the word home. First, is the home of origin as outlined above, and second is the actual place that is my home. I love both. The home of my origin I love for its plainness, the plainness and forthrightness of its people, and the bluff friendliness I feel among Northerners. I like its historical origins that have led to its Northernness and the accents and cadences of its people. The home that I live in is my haven, I love the comfort of home and its familiarity and having the things that I love and the people I love around me. It is the womb in which I write. The garden beyond is the place that I send my eyes to when I am looking for dreams and I adore it.
What turns you on creatively?
Many things turn me on creatively, but mainly I am turned on by the act of creation, by making. Creation is the opposite of destruction and I have a philosophical belief that it is world saving. I like making music, singing, cooking, gardening, painting and drawing and my friends are other artists. I am very influenced by the natural world and our fortunate interface with it, but I am also turned on by the spiritual and what amounts to the mystery of life. I enjoy working collaboratively and have done so with sculptors, musicians and other artists, recently published a book of my poetry with images by Graham Ibbeson, the Yorkshire sculptor.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
A strange question. It’s a bit like asking me which of my children I love the most. I love the sounds of words and of some archaic words and I love the romance of words. Perhaps if I were to be analytical, I would have noticed that the word Love, has come up more frequently in this interview. Perhaps “Love,” is more than a word for me, I aspire that it should be a way of life and I spell it with a capital “L,” perhaps we are all learners. In a sentence, I would say that
“Love awakes Love and by Love is woken all the best that men may be.”
What is your pet peeve?
I do not tolerate rudeness very easily as I feel good manners are a lubricant of life. It annoys me that some of the gentility of an earlier age is being eroded for it is in the fabric of true civilisation. When people are rude, cruel, or unkind, I feel that they must be at the bottom of a steep learning curve. We must be grateful for what we have, for our gratitude, our understanding of what good fortune is will teach us the importance of kindness and respect.
What defines Paul Thwaites?
First and there is no tongue in cheek, here, I am human. Part of this humanity is to want to be creative, it is something I do every day. I love my home and family and I have an almost metaphysical love for the garden and the natural world. I agree with Gandhi that “God has no religion,” but I consider myself a tolerant and spiritual person and I love the mystery of this. I am a man fortunate to have lived through my time and am moving into age and towards the end of that time. I shall make as much as I can for as long as I can.
I am a writer living in Yorkshire, England, recently retired from the teaching profession. I have always written and love poetry and have a large backlog of work. I have, through my own neglect had little published. I had four poems in a recent anthology: "Viral Verses," put together to raise funds for the NHS and am currently working with a sculptor writing poems to complement his work. I have a few collections on the go: "Norse Gods," "Box of Ochre," "Water Dancing with the Moon."