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I Don’t Call Myself a Poet interview

This interview is part of a project began by students of CMW1001: Introduction to Writing – Poetry at the University of Middlesex in Spring 2012. Students were each assigned to interview a poet, and collaborated in class on developing a pool of “burning questions.” The initial project produced 68 interviews It was inspired by Angela Rawlings’ The Great Canadian Writers’ Craft.
The name of the site, “I Don’t Call Myself a Poet,” was inspired by a phrase used by some of the poets interviewed, who pointed instead to poetry as a process, practice, engagement, or as one identity among many. It conveys the often self-deprecating nature of British poets and poetry, as well as the sense of community, of being part of poetry rather than being “a poet”, described in many of the interviews. Here is an extract of the interview by Rhianna Simpson 1. What was the first poem you read? How did it affect you? I was always reading Shakespeare in school. I think at 6 years old I read my first poem. At 8 years old I had my first collection of poetry. In terms of how it affected me, I was mesmerised by rhyme and psychology through language. I think language teaches you. 2. When did you decide to call yourself a poet and why? Good question. Ooh that’s very difficult. I remember finishing my degree and I was working in a bank. I was thinking to myself I don’t know why I’m here. I also read a quote by Deepak Chopra which said “The best way to make money is to do something you love.” I left my job that day. I said to myself, I’ll never do something I don’t love again. I also became a poet because I wanted it to be on my passport, which I was going to renew. I wanted it to say ‘poet’, I wanted people to ask me what I did so that I could say “I am a poet.” See the full interview Here