Molly Naylor is not your typical Burning Eye poet. Poetry is actually just one of her many writing talents. She is also a scriptwriter, producer and filmmaker. From writing sitcoms for SKY 1 to recording audiobooks for BBC Radio 4 and recording short films, Molly’s new poetry collection Badminton only exemplifies her diverse interest and talent as a writer. We caught Molly for a quick chat about Badminton:
Hi Molly, congratulations on a beautiful collection! First question I have to ask is, how did you settle on ‘Badminton’ for the title?
I was going through this period of playing badminton all the time, and I used to joke about how much better it was than writing. I don’t really mean it as I am obsessed with writing, but never having been a sporty person and suddenly finding this activity that was physical and tiring and simple was revelatory. I felt so good playing it that I decided to try and live more like I played – decisive, bold and with no time for ego or anguish.
You say in the description of the book that it is a story of three parts that ultimately deal with love, failing relationships and acceptance. Which part, if any, was the most challenging for you to curate?
The third part. It’s where I try and answer some of the questions I’ve set up earlier in the book. I’m better at questions than I am at answers. The early poems are tentative and incomplete by their sections’ definition. It felt important that the final section put forward some sort of ideological standpoint, and that was difficult for me to focus on because I change my mind so often.
There are so many references to different journeys, childhood and death, driving, and references between poems that marry the whole sequence together. Were you aware that this was going to be a journey when you started writing for the collection?
Not at all. But I loved finding and then developing those links, and discovering themes I’d not previously realised were there. It helped me feel confident about putting the work into the world because it suddenly felt as if it had a point and a purpose outside of making me feel better.
Do you have any particular favourites in the book that stand out for you?
I quite like Hello and Goodbye because of their ridiculous titles. I also like Disattach because it contains lessons I’ve barely learned. The TV executives one is very silly, which I enjoy.
Any advice for budding poets?
Never write in a way that you think someone else wants you to. Never worry about what sort of poems are currently cool or fashionable. Do two more edits than you think you need to and when you do, always read them out loud.
Finally, what’s next for you and your writing?
I’m working on a feature film and some more TV projects, as well as continuing to develop my work with True Stories Live.