Welcome, Trevor, to the Poetry Zone interview. First question then… How long does it take to write a poem?
Some take ten minutes, some take a while
Some sit there and sit there in the middle of the pile
Some are always changing, some appear quite done
Some of them are serious but most of them are fun.
What is the most unusual event that has inspired you to write a poem?
An exploding headteacher – up on the stage – gradually inflating until he burst. Only a daydream (un)fortunately
How do you write your poems?
When the thoughts get going
Then the ink starts flowing
You’re never really knowing
Where it’ll end.
The ideas that were sowing
Have now started showing
But there’s still no knowing
How it’ll end!
Who are your favourite poets?
e e cummings and good John Keats
Each one capable of fantastic feats
Wonderful phrases, refreshing rhymes
Seen me through some tricky times.
Of all the poems you’ve written, which is your favourite?
Have you any poems coming out in the near future?
Got two new books coming out this year
Everybody give a great big cheer!
(There’s A Stegosaurus is for Life – a collection of Animal Poems published by Hands Up Press and a new venture – a book of poems written in comic strip format called Exploding Heads. Both have fantastic graphics.)
Did you write poems at school?
Yes, it’s where all this began
But I have to admit they were awful
And if the teachers could see what I wrote
They’d probably think them unlawful.
(But we had no guidance in how to write poems at either of my schools. And lots of teachers are still chary about helping young people to write poetry. Shame.)
Did you enjoy school?
Some lessons were fine, some were a bore
Whatever happened, I enjoyed the holidays more!
Have you any pets?
Albertina is a frisky cat, a risky cat.
In colour she’s a whisky cat.
Albertina is a pally cat
Not at all an alley cat
She’s a run and scamper cat
And then a lie and pamper cat
How do you spend your spare time?
I dig the garden
I feed the cat
I draw and paint
And sit and chat
I read some poems
I write some tales
Listen to the trains
Rolling on the rails
What did you do before becoming a poet?
Teaching English – it taught me a lot
Have you any plans for the future?
My plans for the past are much more successful.
What could schools do to improve the way poetry is taught?
Do more of it and don’t be afraid of it!
What advice would you give to young poets?
Read poetry, write poetry, read your poems aloud.
When you think that you can, read out to a crowd.