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Guest Author - Paul Cookson

1. Let’s start at the beginning, where did your life in poetry begin?

At school - we had a great teacher called Mrs Graham who encouraged our writing - mostly stories, but then I got into poetry via the likes of Roger McGough / Brian Patten and The Mersey Sound, the shorter poems of DH Lawrence, seeing John Cooper Clarke perform, then later Steve Turner and Stewart Henderson from the Greenbelt Festival
2. You do a lot with schools, what is your number 1 tip to an aspiring poet?
1. Read as much as you can - different poets, genres, approaches, styles 
2. write as much as you can - try different genres and approaches
3. read your poems out loud - get the feel, the rhythm
4. there’s no one definition of poetry - it’s what you make it, there’s no right or wrong
3. Football is such a big part of your work, why is that?
Write about what you are interested in. If you love something then that should show in your poems. Also, if you are writing for an audience - i.e. schools - then write about what your audience will be interested in too. Football is just one of those subjects. But - it has led to my involvement as Poet in Residence at The National Football Museum and being commissioned by my own club Everton to write a poem for their season ticket campaign - Home ( look it up on you tube! / my website )
4. What is your favourite type of poetry to write?
I don’t really have a favourite - if I’ve been writing lots of funny ones, it’s nice to go to serious ones, or from ones that rhyme to ones that don’t … However, there is a great satisfaction of writing a rhyming performance poem that’s funny, has opportunities for audience participation and sounds great out loud … but then again, a short poem can be really satisfying too
5. And finally, what is your perfect location and set up when writing?
I don’t have a place that I always like to write in, no special office … but I do have to have quiet. And I really like writing early in the morning and late at night - not so good after lunch though!