To mark National Poetry Day 2010 on October 7 Culture24 has teamed up with publishers Faber to film four poets who each reveal what inspires them and how they write their poems.
Writing poetry can seem like a daunting challenge to a fledgling poet: where do you find inspiration? How do you start a poem? And how can you use poetry to express your emotions and explore language?
These are some of the questions tackled by Simon Armitage, Joe Dunthorne, Lavinia Greenlaw and this year's National Poetry Day Poet in Residence Daljit Nagra. Each poet offers tips on how to get going writing poetry and an accompanying set of films sees each poet read a favourite poem.
Armitage calls poets "the awkward squad" and argues that the key to good writing is "reading, reading and reading", and Dunthorne tells us how poetry for him is "exploring language".
Nagra admits to being a late starter, writing his first poem at the age of 21 but he says the inspiration for poems can come any place and any time. The trick is to be receptive and listen to yourself.
Lavinia Greenlaw recommends young poets "get out and experience life" and sums up the enduring popularity of poetry when she says: "There will always be poetry because people will always find it hard to say what they want to say – and that's when people turn to poetry."
Yorkshire-born Armitage burst onto the scene in 1989 with his first book of poems, Zoom. By 1992 he was the winner of the first Forward Prize and a year later he became the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. Among his collections of poetry are Kid, Book of Matches, The Universal Home Doctor and Tyrannosaurus Rex versus The Corduroy Kid. His acclaimed translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was published in 2007. Seeing Stars was published in 2010.
Simon Armitage reads Kid
The National Poetry Day Poet in Residence was born and raised in West London, then Sheffield, but currently lives in Willesden where he works in a secondary school. His first collection, Look We Have Coming to Dover!, won the 2007 Forward Prize for Best First Collection and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. In 2008 he won the South Bank Show / Arts Council Decibel Award.
Daljit Nagra reads Darling and Me
Born and brought up in Swansea but currently living in London, Dunthorne's debut novel, Submarine, won the Curtis Brown prize. It has been translated into nine languages and a film of the book is in production. His poetry has been published in Poetry Review, New Welsh Review and Voice Recognition. He performs regularly and co-organises Homework, a monthly night of literary miscellany.
Joe Dunthorne reads Not the Furniture Game by Simon Armitage
A professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, Greenlaw has published three books of poems - Night Photograph (1993), A World Where News Travelled Slowly (1997) and Minsk (2003), which was shortlisted for the TS Eliot, Forward and Whitbread Poetry prizes. Her two novels are Mary George of Allnorthover (2001), which won France's Prix du Premier Roman Etranger, and An Irresponsible Age (2006). In 2007 she published her memoir, The Importance of Music to Girls.
Lavinia Greenlaw reads Blue Field
Poetry Courses at the Faber Academy
If you are looking for further inspiration for writing, and are keen to develop your poetry, why not find out if there’s a Faber Academy creative writing course for you?
Visit www.faberacademy.co.uk for details.