Meet The Artist: Paul Butterfield Jnr, Limavady

Limavady poet Paul Butterfield Jnr has proven over recent years that the art form is alive and well here in Northern Ireland.

The 27-year-old recently completed a tour in the UK and Ireland performing his own original poetry, and has also released a series of hard-hitting poetry music videos on YouTube.

This year Paul will travel to New York to perform and also has a poetry book in the works.

Poet Paul Butterfield Jnr

Poet Paul Butterfield Jnr

Get to know more about Paul:

How did you get started in the industry?
“I got into poetry by accident. I always wanted to write from a young age but I didn’t know how to really, really tap into it. I tried numerous times as a kid and a teenager but no one ever encouraged me to go forward with it.

“After publishing a couple of articles in a magazine on training in the martial arts, I decided to look into more creative ways to express myself. I joined a film-making course and a writing group to see where I could go.

“After writing and acting in a short piece with the film-making group (The Playhouse in Derry) and writing poetry with the writing group for about a year, I had a nervous breakdown and went to a hospital for a couple of days and that was all the fuel I needed to truly express myself through poetry and film.”

What genre / style do you create in?thumbnail_paul 2
“I think my genre and style would be like the confessional poets of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath.”

What would you be best known for?
“I think I am best known for my ludicrous style of no holds barred; saying things that really hit people in the chest. In a magazine in London I was called explicit and provocative. But they also said I was gentle and softly spoken.

“I like to be both ways because to say what is true you also must be a true gentleman, to be a part of a true life in the arts and also in life.”

What would you consider your biggest achievement?
“I think my biggest achievement is the small tour I did last year around Ireland and the UK. It was a beautiful experience and I met so many wonderful people along the way.

“There’s so much more to come and things go so quickly, and I think the biggest achievement will to have lived a rich life and know you spread yourself out there to as many people and places as possible.”

What would you consider to be the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your industry?
“The biggest lesson I have learnt is to be patient and let the art and everything come in its own good time.”

What has been your biggest challenge to date?
“My biggest challenge to date is to have seen everything I have achieved is not perfect and now I am trying to put it all right and align it and be patient and let it unfold but never stop being at work.”

thumbnail_Paul 3Tell us a little about your personal life, are you married, kids, hobbies etc?
“As a kid I wanted to venture into everything but I was a skater for 10 years and trained in the martial arts for 10 years also, and apart from that I got into writing films and poetry.

“But one thing I loved about all these art forms is the determination it gives you in them and also in life. It’s also to be a man with many hats.”

Tell us about your most recent work?
“I am currently working on a book of selected works and trying to get it published and I have confirmed to head off to New York to perform this year.”

PLUG !! What would you like us to tell people about?
“I guess I’ve always been a troubled individual and I have been to the brink of darkness in all levels but it has never stopped me from being an artist and a gentleman.”

If you had to describe your work to someone who has never heard of you what would you say?
“I guess I am a person with many hats but being a poet now at 27 is where I need to be just like all the other art forms I have ever been a part of. You are in these places and art forms for a reason. For the heart needs to strive in life and your art.”

What’s the funniest experience you’ve had in your business?
“The funniest experience I ever had was when a young guy came up to me in Cork and said: “You obviously write a lot of your poetry when you are on acid”. I laughed very sincerely and thought it was a beautiful compliment as I have never tried that drug.”

What would your advice be to young people hoping to pursue the same industry?
“I don’t like given advice much but all I would say is – Let your art be your life.”

Anything else you want to tell people about yourself or your work?
“I don’t think there’s much else to say about my art other than it is quiet abstract and I love being a part of the surrealism of life itself for that is where it is all at.”

Who do you look up to and why?
“I guess I look up to many poets, philosophers, storytellers and filmmakers because it’s where it is all at for me as an artist and dealing with a surreal life.”

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About the Author

Abby Williams
Belfast based author/writer specialising in entertainment, mental health and human interest.