Worth begins by stating “Amphetamine Heart was written over a three-year period…Even though it’s a personal collection, I was also trying to push my own boundaries with my writing. But the experienced behind the poems were the driving inspiration. I was going through a lot at the time. I was living in a really terrible apartment. I had developed a lot of anxiety and had trouble sleeping, so I started taking sleeping pills and chasing them with a bottle of wine every night”. These experiences produced the poems in Amphetamine Heart, which are “a bit surreal, a bit opaque at times”.
Worth mentions that her poems are also very inspired by writers who have connections with punk music, including Patti Smith, Lydia Lunch and Exene Cervenka, as well as writers like Kathy Acker and Daniel Jones. These influences encouraged Worth to pursue honesty and authenticity in her work, as she states “if it’s the truth, it should be out there”.
IFOA concludes the interview by asking a few questions about whether Worth, an accomplished musician, has ever set her poetry to music. Worth explains, “I have had two different bands that were more like art projects, and we were setting poetry to music. The most recent project I had like this was called Salt Circle and we were pretty minimal: we had a drum, a keyboard, a theremin and a kalimba, and we tried to really focus on creating an atmosphere for each of our songs”. Although Worth does have a few interesting spoken word projects up her sleeves, in the meantime she’s “waiting to wrap up a couple of other projects first”.
Liz Worth is the Toronto-based writer of Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk Culture in Toronto and Beyond, and a piece of surreal punk fiction called Eleven: Eleven. Amphetamine Heart is her first poetry collection.