Where are we?
Behind an electric lime door in a rickety old townhouse in London. It’s part of a housing co-op that’s been going since the early 80s. It used to be filled with punks and anarchists; now it’s occupied by a gaggle of middle-aged eccentrics.
What are you working on?
Some scripts for a client, and what I hope will be my first pamphlet.
What’s that over there?
Outside the window to the right of my desk? The house opposite? That’s where French poets Rimbaud and Verlaine lived in 1793 after scandalizing literary Paris with their drug and absinthe-fueled love affair. They wrote some of their most famous poems in that house (and attacked each other with knives). There’s a commemorative plaque on the wall, but it’s currently hidden by lockdown foliage.
What’s that sound?
Lauren Laverne on BBC6 Music, cars humping speedbumps, and dogs barking in a socially distanced queue outside the vets.
Time for a break…?
I lace up my trainers and run for miles along the Regent’s Canal.
Was there a particularly memorable moment during the Summer School?
The wonder of long prose poems! That ekphrasis is much more than describing the first painting you see down the Tate. And that I talk too much in class. The 1-1s with tutors were excellent: illuminating, educational and full of practical, helpful advice. And it worked really well online. Got to say, having some of the best contemporary poets around popping up for a direct chat on screen was pretty cool. It was also great to meet writers from so many different backgrounds, with such varied experience, skills and approaches. The whole week was thoroughly inspiring - and extremely busy!
What's next for your writing?
I’ve never sent my poems to publications or entered competitions before. Summer School’s been a real confidence boost, so I’ll start there. Hopefully a pamphlet after that. Then Poet Laureate.