Gothic Poet: Florence Challender
Once in a while you hear or see something so inspiring or creative that you’re pulled into another world, I often find myself browsing through hundreds of on line poetry sites, hoping to find the one poem that would take me on an adventure to another place.
This is how I came across Florence Challender’s poems, hidden deep in the cores of Gothic poetry forums, her work is deeply intense, dark at times sordid but done in a romantic finesse. She seduces the reader into a tainted but romantic world, by the time it hits you that the work is quite gloomy, its too late you’re in love.
1. Could you tell us a little about yourself and what inspires you?
Certainly, well I’m particularly interested in music, which I find really therapeutic. My favourite musician at the moment is Emilie Autumn, and I love the band Slipknot. My hobbies include acting, I am studying drama at the moment and of course writing which I have been doing in various forms all my life, it acts as an outlet for my feelings. My inspiration has come from the works of other on line poets and published poets, particular stories: mythical, biblical or otherwise, and certain topics of interest to me such as philosophy, or issues I think need to be addressed.
Instinctively my fingers are outstretched,
poised to touch the rosiest apple
to tear the fruit from the loom
to feed my appetite for curiosity.
It’s flesh is bitter sweet
it’s bite tastes of my decay
the liquor of knowledge, a thorough depressant
trickles from my tainted lips.
My sin falls from my hand
and lies on Eden’s jewelled floor
Oh I am awash with gluttonous guilt
now I am living on borrowed evil.
2. How did you get into poetry and how do you stay creative?
I’d read some when I was younger and enjoyed it, but I really began to get into poetry earlier this year when I was exploring some websites relating to the Gothic genre. I could really identify with some of it, and I found many pieces very inspirational. I actually had a comedy writing project to work on at the time, and failing to come up with anything worthwhile I thought I’d try my hand at something a bit darker.
I wrote my first real poem, poem 1 on my blog.
I was actually really pleased with it, and when I returned to my comedy piece I had found lots of inspiration and decided to add a dark, vampire horror twist on it. I stay creative by writing regularly, I find I can write in intense bursts. I don’t write to a schedule, I wait to be inspired and also by listening to a lot of music with creative lyrics, which to me is like poetry.
3. How would you describe your work?
Dark, Gothic, not to everyone’s taste but nevertheless a representation of many of my thoughts and feelings.
It’s less of the furnace
more of the fire
it’s less of the casket,
more of the liar.
It’s less of the poison
more of the drink
it’s less of the torture,
but you’re made to think.
It’s less of the snake pit
more of the black hole
it’s less of the cage,
but you still have no control.
It’s less of the eternal
but it drags on nonetheless
it’s none of the answers,
they’re still left unguessed.
It’s less of the freezing water
but tears are free to fall..
it’s less of the wrathful,
more of common brawl.
It’s less of the crimson
more of the bleakness
it’s less of the sin,
more of the weakness.
4. Do you write for a particular audience?
Well, I write for myself mainly. And as an adolescent, a lot of it representative of this time in my life. But I don’t have a particular target audience.
5. Is your work made with a narrative in mind?
Some of my poems tell or retell a story, some have a few references to stories whilst others are merely my thoughts on paper.
6. Would you say that your work is a reflection of reality?
I would say it is a reflection of the hidden truths behind reality. Not reality itself, there is a lot of poetic license and probably fabricating in my poems. However, most of it is to illustrate a point about life or society.
7. Do you have a muse or source of inspiration?
Not one particular source, my inspiration has been relatively scattered so far. If I had to choose I would say life is my muse.
Her lustrous charcoal hair falls thick around her shoulders,
her skin like marble as he traces her profile and she looks
to the moon laughing, laughing..
her skirt flowing, her smile so full of life, so alluring..
and he presses a single black rose into her hand,
and its single dew drop sparkles in the starlight
and it reminds him of her.
But it is a parting gift for he must go, for he can feel it
sapping him of his strength but she mustn’t know.
He cannot bear to bring her bleakness
and he sees his aggressive consumer as a weakness.
She does not know that he is leaving, he bids goodbye
but she’s not grieving, she doesn’t know.
She’s left waiting, waiting..
the rose is wilting, wilting..
But her lustrous charcoal hair falls thick around her shoulders,
her skin like marble as she traces her profile and she looks
to the moon weeping, weeping..
her skirt flowing, her eyes so full of anguish, so alluring..
and she strokes the withering black rose in her hand,
and its single dew drop sparkles in the starlight
and it reminds her of him.
8. Who would you say influences and inspires you at present in music, fashion or art?
My main inspiration would be music, specifically Emilie Autumn, Slipknot, Evanescence. My fashion taste fits my poetry, quite dark. My favourite artist is actually one of my friends, who has a very individual style and is a fantastic cartoonist and artist.
9. What advice would you give to anyone trying to write poetry?
Don’t worry if you can’t come up with anything on the spot, it takes time. You can find inspiration when you least expect it. Also, by all means write in a way that has been influenced by someone or something you admire however, poetry works best when it has also been drawn from your life experience. Poetry is about expressing feelings as much as coming up with a good plot. So don’t worry if you don’t have an original and thrilling story contained in each poem. And just be artistic with your words!
10.What’s your next step in life and writing?
Hopefully I will pursue creative writing, and I hope to become a published poet. But I would like to break into the acting world (here’s hoping). I do not have any exact plans, I am more of a ponderer. But whatever I do, I will still continue to write poetry.