Tell everybody a little about yourself
I'm a poet and author with a special interest in science. My two current books are This Rock That Rock (illustrated by Viviane Schwarz) and Leap, Hare, Leap! (illustrated by Anastasia Izlesou).
Was your creativity affected in anyway during the lockdown? Did being lockdown make you feel inspired or deflated?
Lockdown has forced time upon me. This resulted in financial worries but it also made me realise that I can either use the time productively or spend it worrying. I've chosen the former, and so have been busy working on books for Ladybird Audio, poems for the BBC, and a couple of personal projects (including a very exciting collaboration) which might see the light of day.
What was the main thinking behind your poem submitted to Together Behind Four Walls ?
I'd been asked to write a few serious poems about the effects of Covid and so jumped at the chance to share something fun.
What inspires most of your poems,
I get my inspiration from all kinds of unexpected places. It may be from an article I read, or a problem I'm having, or just a phrase or rhythm going around my head. If it keeps nagging me then I'll work with it for a while to see where it leads. I am particularly interested in astronomy so my recent collection is inspired by the Moon. I look at it from personal, scientific, and historical perspectives. Then there's my picture book for younger readers which is a poetic account of species of hare around the world.
Do you have any favourite poems, from all the poems you have written?
The next one! And then the one after that. I try not to look back too often but I've noticed that I do find myself reading a poem from my collection such as 'Quietly Remarkable', or 'The Last Man on the Moon' a lot. And also 'Bentback'—a poem about growing up with scoliosis. And more recently there's the poem 'Seeing', the poem commissioned by the BBC and which seems to have taken on a remarkable life of its own.
Do you ever think of poems before going to sleep or just after waking up?
Oh yes. My trouble is often being awake enough to remember!
Do you ever give up on poems you have started?
All the time. Sometimes a poem doesn't work out. And sometimes it turns into something else along the line or sneaks into an entirely different poem. It's all about exploring the ideas and being open to the truth that leads to.
Do you do any other creative activities?
I write songs for a popular YouTube channel, and I write marketing copy for various companies.
Do you only focus on poetry or do you also write prose?
I follow the idea. It usually suggests its own form. Sometimes that's poetry and sometimes prose. And then sometimes it's a combination of the two.
If you had to write a poem about yourself, how would it start?
All my poems are about me in one way or another. They reflect my different sides, hopes, interests and issues.
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