Describe yourself in 3 words…
Just a hopepunk hobbit
What inspires you?
At the moment I write a lot about the ecosystems we’re part of; my relationships with land, plants and animals. I’m also facilitating nature connection sessions, and I’ve been veering more and more towards projects which combine ecology and creativity. I’m working on a project with the RHS at the moment, co-producing an interactive exhibition about weeds with a group of teenagers – the theme has been a really exciting way into thinking about our relationships to plants. And, though it sounds cliché, the young people I work with inspire me a lot.
Tell us about your worst ever gig?
I got to the finals of the Scottish Slam Championships and blanked on stage in the first round. Had to have a big chocolate sundae to cheer me up after.
What’s your number one poetry pet peeve?
People who sneer at “hobbyists” and create a sense of hierarchy based around paying your dues and how professional you are. I don’t want to dismiss commitment to craft, but poetry is a hard world to be professional in, and I wish we could all enjoy it without capitalism stealing the joy in it. Poetry is for everyone!
Whose words do you love at the moment?
I read a poem by Hera Lindsay Bird the other day that made my brain fizz.
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
There are other kinds of success than prizes and top publishers. Don’t lose the joy and connection that got you into poetry in the first place in pursuit of someone else’s idea of what you should be doing to be a “real” poet.
If you could travel anywhere in space and time, where would you go?
It’s hard not to try and think of a moment where we could have averted something that created suffering. Like, is there a moment I could intervene to change the course of the climate crisis? But I’m not sure when or what that would be. If I was just sightseeing, I’d go back to the time when homo sapiens and Neanderthals lived together and see what they got up to.
About Linden McMahon
Linden is a poet, performer, fiction writer and arts facilitator – they write about our connections with ecology, dreams for the future, ideas about belonging and family, and queer joy! Over the past two years, they have been an artist in residence with Back from the Brink (making a fanzine for a forest, lanterns that send messages to moths, and more), helped young people to write spine-chilling Gothic stories with Ministry of Stories, and created a trail of poems and stories through the community gardens of Bethnal Green with the Live Art Development Agency. They also like baking elaborate desserts, making pots, and reading sci-fi novels.