Artist Interview | Martin Jon Porter
Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.
When it comes to your writing, explain what you do.
I’ve been writing poetry for nearly five years now. Stylistically, I’ve never been one to pigeonhole my work—this is for readers to decide. Although, when putting a manuscript together, I’m always conscious of variation in terms of length, formatting, and tone.
What is your most recent project?
My first full-length collection, No Home Like a Raft, has recently been published by Atmosphere Press.
Why do you do what you do?
For art to be authentic, it should be an extension of the artist’s self—not separate. Every poem I write contains a layer of my skin. It also helps me to be mindful, and to re-establish equilibrium when things become out of balance.
How has your practice changed over time?
Initially, the poems I wrote were quite visceral and image-based. Whereas now, I’m learning that emotions and imagery are just two elements in the process. A message needs to be embedded, and there’s a level of restraint required as well—like taming a wild horse, so then readers can pull on the reins and take the poem in any direction they like.
What is your scariest experience?
Nothing external but, on an internal level, confronting myself. You can’t expect other people to do this because you know yourself better than anyone else. It’s not easy but, otherwise, things get dismissed, which can make it difficult to move forward.
What is your strongest childhood memory?
Our backyard fence had a gate that led to a primary school oval. I always had the space and freedom to explore with my siblings.
Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.
Travelling through Latin America for three months. It was a sojourn that eventually formed the basis of No Home Like a Raft.
What is your dream creative project?
To be able to have a week of uninterrupted writing in a remote place, at one with nature.
What is your pet peeve about the art world?
It seems, at times, some literary opportunities are reserved for those with a reputation or academic title. A person’s portrayal of his or her world creates another one—an escapism that everyone deserves to indulge. Why should readers be denied of this diversity?
Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?
Even though movement and new surroundings are inspiring, it’s not always possible. So observing the nuances of daily life and human behaviour are always intriguing.
What’s the most indispensable item in your practice?
Even though my mobile phone is very handy for recording notes on the go, it’s probably our day bed. It’s such a comfortable, quiet place that’s tucked away in a nook of our house where there’s plenty of natural light, which is always nice in the winter months. I find it to be an ideal place for thinking and writing.
What superpower would you like to have and why?
It would be the ability to teleport. Not through time, because the past can’t be changed and the present determines our future, but from place to place. Experiencing other cultures is so enriching. I also regard reading as a kind of superpower, with how it can broaden the mind.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you.” – Charles Bukowski
Creatively, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Continuing to read widely, and being true to myself—if I’m being true to myself, then this will be reflected in my writing.
Martin Jon Porter is currently based in Melbourne, Australia.