John Lavan, Author of “Familial: Selected Poems”

What is your book about?

Poems that stimulate feeling.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

Family relationships really. I have a son with Down’s Syndrome and he’s my great muse. Not much poetry has been written on the love between father and son and so it’s great to access the feelings and try to capture them in a poem’s

How long did it take you to write your book?

It took about seven years. I have 600+ poems on my blog and I selected the best ones according to number of comments and hits. It was like a global democratic choice.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

In a sense, every poem has a point about our human condition. Almost all my poems are positive and intend to uplift.

What are you working on right now?

A long and epic poem – about a little shaman.

At what age did you discover writing?

I arrived late – started at age 52!

When where you first published? How were you discovered?

Apostrophe Books discovered my poems through Twitter in July 2012. We published quickly and they’re great to work with.

Does writing come easy for you?

No – it’s like I have to squeeze out a poem and a tight deadline helps. Then I probably edit it over a dozen times, improving meter, rhyme, sound, structure, alliteration, imagery etc.

What writer influenced you the most?

Emily Dickinson – she has such mystery, intensity & compression.

Describe your writing in three words.

Words that feel

What one word describes how you feel when you write?


What do you think the most influential change in book publishing will come from?

The internet – particularly for poetry. An electronic global reach can break the stranglehold that paper-publishers have in only promoting existing poets on their books. The internet can reach a far larger market than those boys imagine – and transform the world’s attitude to poetry.

What is something you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?

Mac and ipad

If you could have lunch with one person, real or fictitious, who would it be?

Shakespeare. Greatest writer ever. How did he do that?

Where can people learn more about your books?

On my blogs: and and

Apostrophe Books: