Interview with Charly Cox

We’re so excited that one of our favourite poets wrote us a poem inspired by autumn and the changes it brings, for our latest issue. Charly Cox’s book She Must Be Mad is the best-selling poetry debut of 2018. We love that her writing focuses on destigmatising mental health, what it means to be a woman in the modern world and, of course, everything else in between. Grab a copy of issue 45 to read the poem Charly wrote especially for us. Here’s our chat with the writer and poet about our shared love of autumn and her perfect day…

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What inspires you about autumn? Jumpers. Jackets. Boots. Sartorially I'm at my best from October onward, which makes me feel put together. Put together visually tends to mean put together in practice of work, for me. Ridiculous, I'm sure. I love the cold and the red wine and the sudden pull to closeness of autumn, you're not quite yet wishing for summer again but you're enjoying the retelling of what happened. It feels like such a wonderful time to look back on the sun stung memories and mistakes and turn them into something new again.

Describe your perfect day… I spend a lot of time wishing for a change of scenery/pace/routine but the more I thought about this question the more I realised how perfect my current set up is for me.

Wake at 10am, feed Peanut (my adopted wild rabbit) (yes, really) and walk into the woods with Piper my black lab. Coffee and a cigarette by the fireplace. Re-listen to the Radio 1 Breakfast Show, more coffee. Shower, dress, get on the train to London and convince a friend to take an early lunch and have a glass of wine. Wonder Soho aimlessly, buy another book and a magazine I don't need. Call Adrian. Call my grandparents. Sit and people watch on Dean Street and scribble in my notebook. Think about dinner. Convince another friend to let me go to theirs and cook and invite everyone over. More wine. Catch up. Be stupid. End up in G-A-Y Late.

What does writing poetry feel like? It feels safe and understood.

What's your writing routine? It's highly sporadic which makes deadlines and feeling 'productive' difficult. I'm slowly accepting that my routine at its best and most powerful starts at 1am.

Where do you like to write poetry? I write everything on my phone to ease the sense of 'oh my god my hands are hovering above a keyboard why has my brain gone silent I'm a failure' that I get when I try and write on a laptop if it's deadline based but love nothing more than scribbling in my notebook as I wake to get out initial ideas. I like writing in bed and on the tube, in pubs on my own.

How did you start writing poetry? I've written for as long as I can remember. I started writing to profess love for teen heartthrobs and damn school crushes and then it later turned into a crutch through times of depression and anxiety. Poetry became a source of therapy for me. Once what were often terrified and enmeshed thoughts and feelings were out on a page and tangible, something for me to look at and study, I felt as though they were easier to tackle and understand. I still feel that way a lot.

What're you reading right now? So. Many. Things. I am terrible at doing one thing at once, so I've got 5 books on the go at the moment. The one I carry around the most at the moment is The Best of A.A Gill. He was a genius.

Read Charly’s ode to autumn in issue 45.