Every Little Sound, as the title suggests, has much to do with listening. The title poem, ‘Internal Gain’, takes its concept from a response in the nervous system that makes us extra sensitive to signs of danger when we are feeling under threat. One way in which this phenomenon manifests itself, in people with hearing, is in sensitivity to sounds, but it is much broader than this. I am interested in the way a nervous system is rigged to respond to interpersonal threat and how relationships can shape our sense of self and our emotional wellbeing.
The collection also entreats the reader to pay attention and to be open to people’s experiences. Some of the poems explore voices (physical and figurative) that are shunned, denied or overpowered in our society. There are some poems, such as ‘Flashback’, ‘Truth’ and ‘Apology’, which attempt to voice experiences and damaging relationships that I have witnessed within my family. In this sense, there is a confessional tone to the collection. That is not to say that all the poems are personal accounts, but I have written many poems from personal experience and with genuine, passionate conviction. The long poem, ‘Apology’ feels to me like the central poem of the collection. It takes more risks in its tone and content and is perhaps the most confessional poem in the book.
Many of the poems in the book are conversational in tone and either address the reader directly, or else directly address a second person other than the reader. I have found that, as such, the poems sometimes resonate quite intimately with audience members at readings. It is important to me that, whilst maintaining an element of enigma, the poems are accessible to a wide audience. I’m interested to find out more about what readers feel in response to the poems in Every Little Sound; whether the poems prompt readers to consider their own relationships and families, or whether they feel at a distance from the characters in the book and the voices in the poems.