Who’s Felix?

“A sycophantic, prophetic, Socratic, junkie, wannabe.”
The Sound – The 1975

Felix was written on the 1st May 2016.

Sometime around the 30th March, which is when I wrote the first poem in my upcoming collection, I was talking to my Mum about poetry and music. I was saying how I wanted to write a poem that would behave like a song – where you wouldn’t get all the words on the first go. That re-reading, or re-listening, would highlight more of it, would plug in the gaps.

This isn’t exactly the mindset in which I began Felix, which certainly doesn’t have the subtext or intellectual depth, or even Hamilton-esque speed, you might need to fulfill my ambition, but it’s the closest I’ve come so far. When I read the poem for the first time to my friend Rebecca, who’s since recorded her own version of it, I read it ahead of the other sixteen poems I will eventually release with it. I knew, then, I wanted it to be the ‘lead single’. When I read it to her, she described it as the lead single. When I sat down to write it, I had that in mind.

I knew I needed something long, something wordy and probably narrative, that could introduce the upcoming collection. The character of Felix, inspired by Felix Dawkins of Orphan Black, but not the same person, has had his own life in my head for quite some time. I’ve always wanted to write something about this character, but it wasn’t until May 1st that I realised he could be, in a way, my leading man.

I realise that the poem sometimes veers towards a ‘comment on modern society’, and, to a certain degree, it might appear relatively sceptical about fame and art. Whereas other poets might have had this as their intention, for me it was the by-product. The collection I’m going to release is constantly concerned with the idea of who the “I” is in poetry, and what roles truth and identity have in it. The voice of the Felix poem might be sceptical about fame and creativity – indeed, its reader or listener might be – but hopefully it’s just one of the many options that the poem opens for someone who hears it.

I’m very against explaining what poetry means, or even writing about it, and so I’ve tried to steer clear of addressing specific things about the poem in this. But Felix contains various themes and ideas which you’ll find repeated over the course of the next few months, as I unleash more work from the depths of my poetry folders.

The next poem will be out towards the end of July, and I hope you enjoy Felix.

You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram at @jmortimerpoetry, and my Poetry WordPress here.


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