When did you start writing poetry and what drew you into it?
Thirty five years ago. Poetry books led me to poetry. Poems that touched me. I’m am the poetry fan that became a writer.
Tell us when you first felt you were a poet and how it went from there.
I felt I was a poet when a Nobel Prize nominee told me I was a maestro 27 years ago.
What does being shortlisted for the Forward Prizes mean for you?
Recognition by the poetry industry is always nice and also to stand beside so many of my peers whose work I love.
Please tell us about the genesis of your shortlisted poem. Is it part of a collection or sequence? Where can a reader find more by you?
This poem was part of a book collaboration with photographer Johny Pitts called Home Is Not A Place where we drove anti-clockwise round the country talking to black communities and responded with poems and pictures.
Which poets do you admire most and what do you value in their work?
Kwame Dawes , Natalie Diaz, Pascale Petit, Li Young Lee, Malika Booker, Terrance Hayes, Airea D Matthews – they all have an innovative sense of craft and grace.
What is next for you as a poet?
Lots of readings and more writing.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out in poetry today?
Read a lot write a lot, publish slowly and publish less the twenty percent of what you actually write.