What excites you most about your role?
I don’t know where to start! I’m excited about the personal development opportunities that have been presented to me for sure. I’m counting down the days until the Arvon Writers Resedencies already! I’m also desperate to get the ball rolling in terms of bringing poetry to everybody, and having Nottingham as a whole involved in the journey.
Why do you think that poetry is an important mode of expression for young people?
Because poetry is the perfect mix of academia and art; it has rules that are itching to be bent and broken. Young people need to know and feel that they are a part of that rule breaking process, and that their voices and new ideas are crucial to the progression of everybody!
How will your role as editor and learning designer help to form your role as Young Poet Laureate?
With my experience in editing, I really understand the process of taking something that’s a raw expression of feeling and coming back to it, crafting it into more than that; crafting it into an art form. I think this skill will help me to create work with integrity, and also will help me to bring on all the new emerging poets I’ll be coming into contact with. My experience in being a Learning Designer means that I write with the audience (learner) in mind, making sure that I walk people from step to step, and that they feel like they know what’s going on. That’s something that’s really important to me in terms of the poetry I write for performance; I always want people to experience the work with me, as if they were there when the moment I’m describing happened. Both of these things combined means that I can be a voice for Nottingham and all that we experience, and that I can be building and showcasing more and more voices for Nottingham throughout the YPL journey.
How has poetry changed your life?
Poetry gave me an escape from the daily grind. It gave me something else to pour over, and it gave me a platform to express myself in a way that you can’t in every day situations. It’s both freeing and all encompassing at the same time. It’s also what got me through some very difficult moments, and allowed me a new perspective to process from.
It’s National Poetry Day. What piece of advice would you give to a young person with a passion for poetry but without a way in?
I would say that there’s always a way in because the poetry scene is so open-armed and warm. You could go to gigs and put your name down for open-mics and push yourself that way. The audiences will catch you, and love you no doubt. Meet people, go to events, and don’t stop writing and reading.
What poet would you have loved to have met – and why?
I would love to have met Sylvia Plath, because her works always make me feel real horror, sadness, and she just really moves me. I’d love to be as powerful as her one day. I’d like to have heard what advice she could give about writing on situations we as humans usually try to run from.
You’re stranded on a desert island – what three books would you want with you?
Without a doubt in my mind I would take Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, A Bright Moon for Fools by Jasper Gibson, and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. Read them, you absolutely will not regret it!