Meet Corina Moscovich, judge of the poetry category

CORINA MOSCOVICH is one of our amazing panel of judges kindly volunteering their time to support our charity writing competition. Corina is a poet, novelist and translator from Argentina. She is also a freelance journalist and blogger, and coordinates a Multicultural Creative Writing Workshop at the University of Luxembourg. She has previously lived and worked in England, the United States and South Africa. She is regularly invited to creative events and has previously been involved in Birmingham Arts Fest. Corina is the published author of Ser de Sangre and Vía Remington and her poems are featured in various poetry anthologies.

Check out Corina’s blog here. Twitter: @MoscovichCorina

What writing/poetry projects are you working on at the moment?

Right now, I´m getting ready for my participation at the Printemps des poètes (Poetry festival) taking place in Luxembourg in July. I’ve already sent some poems for promotion along with their respective French and German translations (two of the official languages in Luxembourg), I now have to choose which poems I will read. As I will have about ten minutes on stage, it is key that I pick them wisely.

Once I do that, I will rehearse a couple of times by measuring the time. Besides my reading, I will coordinate with a visual artist a poetry workshop for children. In order to do that, I am selecting some poems which may be well understood by youngsters. As a special team is working on the promotion of each poet, I am featured in a short video in my favourite spot of the city. Exciting times!

Can you describe your creative process?

Inspiration comes either from a specific feeling, or a certain word or image. And from deep thought… Generally, inspiration starts like this and it gets more real after being in contact with an element of nature. Then, it becomes an urge to let it all out. However, inspiration alone is not enough. As there is always room for improvement, my way of working can be summed up like this: Get inspired, write, edit. Let it rest (I leave my piece for some time and then I come back to it so as to revise it, make corrections, etc.). Edit again. Save it, print it. Regarding the materials, if it is “urgent”, I write anywhere. I generally start by hand and then continue on my computer. I could be in an almost empty café, a library or simply at home. I usually prefer black ink, never pencil. When I am working on a specific creative project, I write every single day.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers/poets?

In the first place, do get feedback, for example from colleagues, friends or family. It is not easy to share your writing as there may be a tension between the writer and the reader. It is important therefore to explain your approach and exchange ideas and points of view during the creative process. Secondly, it can be easier to create characters out of personal experiences. They look credible as the base is solid.

Thirdly, be tidy with your “writing production” and keep a record of it all the time. Hide it if you want, but do not throw anything away. Take the time and effort to label your production (divided into years or by topic or genre) and keep drafts of short stories or poems in a folder. Finally, when writing a story, pay special attention to: setting in time and space, sources (credibility), length, different tones of voice you intend to show, and details in descriptions. Use synonyms and check verb tenses.

What advice would you give to your younger creative self?

I have always been a good reader. A good foundation in childhood influences the adult reader, but it is only a parameter. Therefore, my advice to my younger creative self would still be: Read! It is amazing how reading and writing are related. Please be open minded and read any kind of book that comes into your hands.

Always try to find ways to fit reading habits into your schedule, even if this means audiobooks. Nowadays, on my bookshelves (physical and virtual ones) I have dictionaries, atlases, encyclopaedias, novels, biographies and poetry books in different languages. I mostly prefer paper books but reading from screens is quite useful sometimes.

Which of your creative projects, past or present, are you most proud of?

Poetry helps me and comes with me anywhere in the world I travel to. My book “Vía Remington” is a collection of poems which are linked to my life experiences in Argentina and also in cities like Bismarck (U.S.) and Birmingham (England). Written in Spanish and in English, behind each poem there is a story: a moment, a place, an ink and a writing surface. As years go by, I understand that in my poems I sum up or say a lot about my life and its circumstances, loves, breaks, moves. The poem comes in one language or the other, to stay in that chosen language. To see how a person who has English as a mother tongue lights up after reading one of my poems is quite moving. It is a way to test that the feeling reaches a diverse target of people.

Find out more details about our writing competition here.