My hour with the poet and writer Mathew Byfield by Samuel Colbran.

I had known Mathew before he won our Winter competition for his poem ‘Brutally Mild’. This hour with him allowed me to meet and understand what drives and inspires him. We first started off just catching up on things since Writers Activation first year anniversary night, but soon we realised that we had to get serious and do this interview.

I started to ask him the big questions, who are you? What inspired you to write this poem? As I see that Mathew is confident in himself never hesitating in answering any of the questions. He just stated that he goes to church, and loves Jesus and is currently studying at the Queensland Theology College as he is decided to become a Minister. Mathew is married and has one daughter with another due in September. So you can see he is a grounded god fearing family man. As this is only one of his sides and can be seen reflected in his poem.

He related to me why he wrote this poem, as a Queensland boy, Mathew couldn’t relate to snow and ice, but he loved the feel of winter as well as this is the time of snuggles and wrapping you up with your loving family. He recounts one of his favourite things is when he is in bed with his wife and daughter, cuddling just sharing a lovely moment in the chilly morn until it is time for ‘someone’ to rise to start the day. This poem reflects his early morning tip toeing over the cold tiles of his home.

Quote from his poem ‘An adventure of tiles -we put on boots, coats and caps. He reaches small chinks and rends in our armour‘, this gives an understanding he goes through this each winter, this doesn’t detract from his love for this time of the year.

As we both have a background in role playing games, I then followed asking what was his preferred genre, which was not a surprise; fantasy like myself. He recounts reading one of my top fifteenish number ones Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, and how this story opened the world of fantasy to him also he love the escapism of the fantasy genre. His has attempted over the years to write a fantasy novel, but like most writers time is a factor in this. He did admit that this winning poem was his first piece that he has completed, and it won a competition it shows his talent in the art of the written word. As I asked him why he chose the poem over the short story? He reflected first off was time, being loving husband and father, studying, gaming and his church he didn’t have the time to put into a story; the poem side of contest shone to him as can relate to the coldness of the wintry morning. He kept the piece grounded in reality as he prefers not to be a metaphoric style of writing as he doesn’t envision topics of Death and Winter in that way. I am glad as he would deprive us of such a beautiful poem.

This hour went so fast; we joked about his broken air-conditioner as he reflects his preference of Winter. He admitted that the prize of this competition was not the reason he entered, Mathew submitted his piece because of our friendship, and he wanted to share his passionate work with the organisation that I help run. He was surprised in winning as he found ‘Winter’s Embrace’ to be a moving piece and thought it would have won (it came equal second), and just the entering was enough.

I found the winner Mathew to be a humble man, valuing family and friends over money and notoriety. I am proud that such a man won our poetry contest, again I would like to congratulate Mathew for his winning poem ‘Brutally Mild’ and he looks forward to the next competition that Writers Activation runs.


2 thoughts on “My hour with the poet and writer Mathew Byfield by Samuel Colbran.”

  1. Dear Sam, it was a pleasure to read your interview with Matthew, you are to be commended for your words of encouragement on Matthew’s sensitive poem and his motivation behind it. Love, Livia York


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