FORWARD ARTS FOUNDATION: When did you start writing poetry and what drew you into it?

SINÉAD MORRISSEY: I started writing poetry as a child and other poems drew me into it. First hearing poetry was an electrifying experience, and one I wanted to emulate.

FF: Please talk about your development as a writer of poetry. Tell us when you first felt you were a poet and how it went from there.

SM: ‘Poet’, as Louise Glück reminds us, is an aspirational term, and I’m not sure I’m a poet now, though I do try. But I knew I wanted to write poetry seriously, all my life, from the age of ten onwards.

FAF: What does being shortlisted for the Forward Prizes mean for you?

SM: It’s a vindication that the act of communication has taken place, I suppose, which is all one can really hope for one’s work.

FAF: Please tell us something about the creation of your shortlisted collection, from first words to final book. Does it mark a departure or change from your earlier work? Which poems in this collection are most important to you?

SM: This is the only one of my books for which the title came first: I got the idea for the whole thing, all at once. I think it’s the most cohesive book I’ve written. Just as it says on the tin the book interrogates ideas of balance — physical balance, structural balance, gender balance, ecological balance, life-death balance — and it does so using the high-wire act of poetic form as a conduit for that exploration.

FAF: Which poets do you admire most and what do you value in their work?

SM: Too many to list any one….

FAF: What is next for you as a poet?

SM: I have no idea

FAF: What advice would you give to anyone starting out in poetry today?

SM: Read!