Episode 19: David Hanlon – Spectrum of Flight

Bristol-based poet David Hanlon began writing poetry after recovering from depression. He was inspired by previous podcast guest Christina Thatcher to explore past experiences through poetry. Christina became his mentor and he has been widely published.

On this podcast he discusses his debut publication The Spectrum of Flight. In it he explores themes such as sexuality, homophobia, bullying, toxic masculinity, depression, love, resilience and, ultimately, recovery. Delving into deeply personal terrain, Hanlon exhumes an adolescence pummelled by name-calling that grew a beast of shame inside him and rendered him silent. In revisiting these painful experiences, and a resulting adulthood charred by the fluctuating and precarious nature of his mental health, he battles to reclaim his voice and grasp self-acceptance; to prize open the metal bars of his caged body: ‘a moulting of the internalised’, to spread his wings and soar: unleashing, and finally embracing, the spectrum of his identity.

David’s writing exercise

As David’s collection is all about flight as a metaphor for rising above and overcoming hardship write a poem about flight. Try using personal experiences as inspiration. The flight could be literal or metaphorical. It may dominate the poem or be one detail. Try free writing until your imagination grows wings, then see where it takes you.

As always we’d love to hear what you come up with. Please share via email or online using #poetrynonstop.

David Hanlon is a confessional poet from Cardiff, Wales, now living in Bristol, England. He is a Best of the Net nominee. You can find his work online in over 40 online magazines. His first chapbook Spectrum of Flight is available for purchase now at Animal Heart Press. You can follow him on twitter @DavidHanlon13

David Hanlon – Taking Flight

Bristol-based confessional poet David Hanlon will be joining me on the podcast to discuss his debut chapbook Spectrum of Flight available from Animal Heart Press. Here’s a poem from the book:

Taking flight

Under night’s clawed grip
I still emerge
nestling into fledgling
into full grown

Small
bird into golden eagle

Overpowering size
I raptor-bully my way free
shimmer like a precious stone
broad wings extend into an equator

The warm-blooded
all of me

Each appendage a blade
a soldier on the front line
plumage-army

I embrace my feather-frilled distance

Feel my talons / scythes
cut
through earth / through stone
arrowhead beak / hooked
predator-sharp

Lion-boys stumble
at my earthquake-felt
beating

Whipping up sandstorms
choke-taste
metallic / smoke / dirt

Cyber yellow scale feet
unclench
hangings of fish hooks
thrown into the air

Tawny-coloured carnivores / nest-
twig-legged / look up
with dull
starved-sick eyes

See a small bird
glint-golden
in the mocking-blue sky
hear its nourishing barrage

David Hanlon