An Interview with SCWC Member Greg Tome

by Yvette Gilfillan

Greg Tome has been a long-time member of the SCWC, as a former secondary school teacher who has pursued poetry, scriptwriting and fiction to the utmost degree during his retirement. His first poetry collection, entitled Watching from the Shadows, was published in 2017 by Ginninderra Press.

Trish Topp referred to Greg’s exquisite oeuvre as ‘immediate and felt’, whilst Sasha Shtargot notes that he has a ‘strong and capable grasp on form’, with ‘a free-form style that he fashions to the mood of his piece’. As Greg ‘searches to make meaning of all he observes and reflects upon’, his unique stance as a retired but active poet gives his work a poignant sense of wisdom.

Recently, Greg undertook a professional manuscript assessment with Ron Pretty AM, our resident award-winning Australian poet and leader of the SCWC poetry groups. As a result of this partnership and Greg’s innate talent, Ginninderra Press have now accepted his second poetry collection for publication, which should appear around July 2019.

Ginninderra Press is an renowned independent publisher based in Port Adelaide, South Australia. Its small number of staff have devoted themselves to publishing books that are clever, intriguing and visionary—and decidedly NOT conventional or mainstream. They are changing the game, and with poets like Greg Tome, are making a ‘small but significant’ impact on the publishing industry.

What was it like working with Ginninderra Press for your first published collection?

It was fine. I wasn’t sure what to expect. First, I sent the publisher an email asking if they would consider my poetry. They agreed to consider it and asked that I send them the poems I had in mind, in hard copy. They explained that it would be some time before I received a decision. When it came there was helpful information with it and a request that I re-submit my manuscript, this time online. This I did. The poems were in the order in which I wanted them to appear in the book.

The production time was quite long. Meanwhile, I gathered some blurbs for the back of the book, decided on a title and cover design. The publisher used these effectively, they issued a contract which was clear and then, eventually, voila the book was in print.

Tell us how your experience was with Ron Pretty, and what your manuscript assessment involved. Would you recommend it to other aspiring local writers?

Along with the poems I was considering, I sent Ron a letter. I asked him to help me by recommending if any poems were not of sufficient quality to be published, to help me with the titles of the poems, to suggest the order in which poems should appear in the book and to suggest any changes that he thought needed to be made to individual poems. Ron did all four things wonderfully well. He was very thorough and helpful which was a great relief to me because I had periods of uncertainty and I needed support from a reliable source. I would not hesitate to recommend a similar action to anyone seeking publication for their poetry.

Can you give us a teaser for your next poetry collection? What themes or topics did you creatively explore, and how was the process different from your last anthology?

My next book will have much fewer family related poems. Also there will be more light-hearted poems which I didn’t have the confidence to submit in the first book but contact with Ron changed that. There are fewer long poems. Perhaps there is a greater examination of aspects of time (the word time will feature in the book’s title, I feel); there may be more intensive investigation of the natural world around us. Some readers will see considerable overlap in topics between the two books which I think range over a wide spectrum.

Thank you to Greg for taking part in this interview! We can’t wait for July next year. Watching from the Shadows is available from Ginninderra Press, Amazon, and Book Depository.

Did you know...

In addition to offering professional manuscript assessments providing access to qualified assessors for a fee, the South Coast Writers Centre offers members a one-time FREE initial manuscript assessment. You submit a piece of prose (2000 words maximum) or poetry (100 lines maximum), apply the feedback you’re given, and ding ding ding! maybe you, too, will be one step closer to publication.



Written by SCWC

Posted on October 27, 2018