Man

All about Sonny Hall

R is Ryan Doyle, who introduces himself as an old friend, artist, filmmaker. And S, it's Sonny Hall, poet. They gave us their last conversation.
Reading time 6 minutes

Ryan Doyle: You're particularly stylish today, what are you wearing?
Sonny Hall: A John Pearse jacket.

And what are you reading?
Crazy cock, by Henry Miller.

I never saw you without a book in my hand. What do not you forget when you leave your house?
My cigarettes, a notebook, my style.

What have you done recently?
Physically or spiritually?

According to what comes to your mind.
I went out to 606 Club in London, I prepared my trip to Paris, and I can not help thinking about the poem I'm writing.

What is it about ?
It will be called "Winning over a defeatist".

You have a lot of tattoos, including the enigmatic "616". What does this number mean to you?
He was born to my adoptive family, those friends who took me under their wing when I was a 16 year old boy totally lost. We grew up together. My brother (figuratively, ndlt), Bakar, is one of them, and he has just released a fantastic EP.

What is your favorite place to go out today?
Cafe Boheme, London.

Jazz and food! I think we are attracted by places animated by this romantic spirit, places that make us go back in time, you do not agree?
Completely, but it's pretty sad in a way. We are more and more in search of such places. The true soul seems to die, but it is preserved here and there.

I remember that poetry has always played a vital role in your life, that it has always fascinated you. What was the turning point?
About two and a half years ago, in rehab, I started writing a newspaper, which was part of the overall approach, among the highly recommended activities. But that was not very fulfilling. I started to write a little anything, but in an orderly way, and most of all totally honest. Little by little, I understood that it was poetry.

You seem to draw your inspiration a little everywhere, from an unexpected meeting to a place you visit. Does the music you listen to or some emotion also find their way into your work?
Always. I'm a sponge, I absorb everything I see and hear, and it generates a profusion of feelings, sometimes violent, sometimes ecstatic, and most of the time, all at once. This conflict creates a kind of urgency to write, if only to put things in order.

A bit like a jazz structure?
Jazz gives me an extra fuel to write freely, it streamlines what's happening in my brain ... and relieves the intensity of my thoughts.

I'm a sponge, I absorb everything I see and hear, and it generates a profusion of feelings, sometimes violent, sometimes ecstatic, and most of the time, all at once. This conflict creates a kind of urgency to write, if only to put things in order.

I have always thought that the truth and the clarity that emanate from your poems come from the self-taught nature of your education. Do you think it was decisive?
Completely, I fell into it most naturally, at a time of great distress. I do not know anything about the traditional values of poetry, they are totally indifferent to me. I'm just reading, writing, and some of my heroes, like Henry Miller, are also self-taught.

Does this cathartic approach work?
It must be done with candor. Otherwise, just put everything in the trash. But yes, writing is a big help.

You are able to interact with people who are very different from you, sincerely interested in them. Where does it come from?
I can empathize for all aspects of life. I was born into a working class family ravaged by drugs, I was adopted by a working class family that worked very hard. This allowed me to see different family dynamics, ranging from complete disarray to moments of measured and momentary happiness, through attention and love.

Since I know you, you seem to have gained clarity of mind ...
I did not think that one day I would publish my poetry or that I would benefit from the support of Kate and her agency (that of Kate Moss, where Sonny is signed as model, editor's note) or to have the possibility to carry as much projects. I was supported by people while I was not very clear-minded.

Kate is a pure Londoner ... You sometimes seem to have fallen from the same tree.
We are both from South London. I adore her and everything she represents.

The way you put your energy to the service of something else, giving up your addictions, and of course by publishing The Blues Comes with Good News *. Was it particularly gratifying that your work as a writer, accompanied by the illustrations of the excellent Jack Laver, finds a materialization?
Having Jack by my side was great. We went to school together, he is my best friend. We are made of the same soggy stuff ...

Where can you find your book?
At Shakespeare & Co, my favorite bookstore. In other bookstores too.

You said a few words at the launch of the new book by Margaret Atwood (author of the saga of The Scarlet Servant). How did it go ?
It was completely surreal. I could not have been more nervous.

What are your plans?
It's still a little early to say, but there are plenty of things to come.

Are we going to have a coffee?
Okay, but only because you're Irish (joking a muddy little thing about Irish Coffee, ed).

 

* Hodder & Stoughton, 176 pages.

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