Literature Works is a regional literature development agency which focusses on south west England. As part of the ongoing promotional work for The English River, Virginia recently spoke to them about the inspirations behind the book, the influence of Thomas Hardy and how her long musical history connects with her approach to writing.
Discussing the connections between her music and her poetry, Virginia commented on the links that draw these talents together.
I think there’s a deep connection between song-writing and poetry. They feel like hybrid forms of the same thing. Many songs and poems filter from personal experiences and for me there’s a sense of working things out by writing them out. Problems are solved walking too, again this link back to being outdoors. I started writing prose first, and then gradually poetry took over. But I miss writing music and lately have been writing music to go with the river poems.
The Literature Works review of The English River summed up the work as: “A stunning debut which showcases Astley’s grasp of multi artform working to have created a collection which musical, complex, moving and beautifully well realised”.