Studio visit

WMN Studio visit with Carson Wolfe

Manchester, England

In this Studio visit WMN meets with Mancunian poet Carson Wolfe (they/them) who just published the chapbook Boy(ish) Vest. Their poem “It’s not a ‘Support Bubble’. Bitch. It’s a Coven” was featured in issue 3 Taking Space. Each studio visit highlights one of WMN contributors in the space where they make their art and poetry, as a way to get to know all of the amazing talent that contribute to the zines. 

Carson by their computer, as they say “The photo of me is how I am usually slumped around the house on my laptop. I have some work to do in the ergonomic area lol. “

Tell us a bit about where you are based, and where you work.

I am based in Stretford – a shit Manchester suburb in the midst of gentrification. I always say you can’t polish a turd, but the espresso machines popping up on every corner are proving me wrong. I was raised here, travelled a lot, and now live on the same street I grew up on—two doors away from my mum. I share a desk in a studio for artists, but I often write from my bed or the floor with one of those TV dinner trays. I have a wife, three children, and a cat at home, which means I’m lucky if I get five minutes with Google Docs on the toilet, the only door with a lock.

Tell us a bit about your background and how and when you started your creative practice?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember, but I only started editing in 2020, which is the same time I began my publishing career as a poet. Before that, I worked as a freelance portrait artist selling very kinky artwork on the side. I stopped painting to write poetry, which is mostly unpaid at this point, but I don’t mind. I was lucky to land a very flexible job to subsidise my income.

When and how do you make your work?

I work in random spurts and at the absolute whim of my ADHD brain. However, when my life looks more orderly, my best time to write is after the kids have gone to school. I don’t eat, I just drink coffee and write from 9am until 1ish. By then I’ve worked up an appetite and usually stop for the day. Sometimes I carry on into the night and become a ghost to my family, but that’s been harder to do since my wife and I welcomed baby Sojourner, who is now eight months old. Those chubby little cheeks are a major distraction.

Share a bit about a current project you are working on or something you just finished?

I just published Boy(ish) Vest – a chapbook of my best published work mixed with exclusive new poems. This was published in Autumn of 2022 by Hidden Voice Publishing (a local publishing house run by a lesbian/gay dreamteam). Further to this, I am working on my debut collection of poetry which has been twice a finalist for a book deal with Write Bloody UK (and I am twice the sore loser). This project explores a lot of the travelling I spoke of earlier. I left two abusive relationships, and then England altogether to live in a hippy commune in Spain with my three year old daughter. Since then, we have had a lot of adventures. One summer I bummed around twenty odd states with my small child and girlfriend/not-girlfriend (the label depends on who is telling the story, haha). We lived VERY wild, VERY free, and a lot of these moments are working their way into my manuscript. I’m obsessed with subverting the American travelling hobo ideal. IE. Jack Kerouac and his pals. I want to show people that women can be hedonistic arseholes too. Lol. Feminism.

Basically, I am rewriting the classic road trip story from the perspective of me, a dyke mother confused by my own tits, and a femme lesbian who⁠—and I don’t mean to stereotype—can’t live without red lipstick.

Does being a Lesbian/Dyke inform your work? If so, how?

I write about my family, gender, sex, and dildos. Therefore, my queerness is usually always in conversation with the poems I write. There are themes I explore that aren’t explicitly queer, but that leads to a big question. What makes a poem queer? Is it queer in the subject matter, or is it queer because I wrote it?

Based on your experience as a lesbian/dyke artist and writer, what advice do you have for other lesbian/dyke artists?

Never stop writing about your period or fisting. No matter what anyone says, the world has not heard enough.

“I took a photo of the fire escape because I love the birds singing out there”

Carson Wolfe is an award winning Mancunian poet. Their work is forthcoming with Rattle, and has appeared with Button, Fourteen Poems, and The Penn Review, among others. They currently serve as a teaching assistant to Megan Falley on her renowned writing workshop Poems That Don’t Suck. You can follow them at @vincentvanbutch and