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Hampshire Poet blog - May 2024

During his two year tenure, your new Hampshire Poet - Damian Kelly-Basher - will be writing a series of blog posts for us sharing what he has been up to, telling us his poetic plans for the future, and inviting you to get involved in poetry in Hampshire. Read on to find out what's happening in Damian's world!

In this blog, we learn more about the Hampshire Poet through a short Q+A, with questions posed by us here at Winchester Poetry Festival.

Q1. Who has most influenced you as a poet? What did you learn from them?

A2. Stewart Taylor is a big influence. He's an eclectic poet/performer (drawing on all sorts of influences) and a brilliant communicator of 'live literature'. He taught me to take risks with my poetry and to mix writing quality wordplay & imagery with vocal/performing skills. 

Q2. Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in starting writing/performing poetry?

A2. Just start writing and enjoy the experience of it. You don't have to have a plan or a mission other than wanting to enjoy yourself.  Read and listen widely (not just to poetry). You'll constantly find joy in the writing/performance of artists (living and dead) and you'll learn the craft of writing. Go to an open mic (first as an audience and then, maybe, get up and share your stuff). Join a writing group. People are always welcoming and encouraging.  The Poetry Foundation has a free newsletter and they send you a poem everyday.

Q3. What are your favourite poems? Something old, something new.

A3. (Oooohh, you can't ask that, you'll start a rumble... But seriously...)

'Horses' by Ted Hughes (words here)

'Bird' by Liz Berry (words & listen here

'Mindful Solutionism' - Aesop Rocks (lyrics and listen here)

Damian Kelly-Basher is Hampshire Poet Laureate 2024-26. The appointment of the Hampshire Poet takes place every two years and is jointly led by Winchester Poetry Festival and Hampshire Cultural Trust. The position of Hampshire Poet provides the opportunity for a Hampshire-based poet to undertake commissions, lead workshops and give readings and talks throughout the county, as well as acting as an advocate for poetry and poets.

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Thank you for the mention, Damian, I feel quite honoured. It's always been great fun watching your work! 😀😀

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