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Guest Author - Joshua Seigal

1. What made you want to work with poetry in schools?

For me, poetry comes alive through performance and interaction. Since children are the audience for lots of my poems, it makes sense to come to schools to perform (and to sell books!). I also think that poetry, and the skills it engenders, are really important for engaging with the school curriculum. To create poetry is to play with words, and doing so can hugely develop verbal and writing skills, as well as develop a love of language generally. 

 

2. What was the first poem you ever wrote?

The first poem I ever wrote was about otters. I wrote it when I was five years old, and it was really rubbish. In fact, you can see an original copy of it on my website, where you can also have a sneaky look at lots of other pieces of work, or varying quality, I produced when I was at school: https://www.joshuaseigal.co.uk/otters

 

3. Where is your favourite place to write?

I often write poems in my head, when I'm in the shower or walking down the street. I then write it down in a little notebook, and if I think it might turn out to be good I write it down on my laptop. I then put it online, and if it gets lots of 'likes' and shares I know it is probably quite good. And if it doesn't get likes or shares I go to bed and cry. 

 

4. Which poet/ poets do you idolise the most?

Interesting question. In fact, I don't believe in idolising anyone, and I would feel very uncomfortable at the thought that anyone would ever idolise me. I think we are all just humans, with good bits and some not so good bits. But there are some poets I admire. Neal Zetter, with whom I have written a book (called Yuck and Yum) was the first poet who made me aware that performing poetry and visiting schools could in fact be a career and not just a hobby. Michael Rosen was the first poet I ever saw in performance when I was about 8 years old, and John Hegley and Tim Key make me laugh. I admire these guys. 

 

5. What is your favourite thing about National Poetry Day?

National Poetry Day is an opportunity for the whole country to get together and celebrate poetry in all its forms. As a poet, it is also my busiest time of year and enables me to pay the mortgage!