Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I wrote across several genres. It wasn’t till my second year at university that I began to realise the best bits of my prose were already fighting to be poems, while brevity wasn’t just a forte but a necessity for me. At that point, poetry took over.
Essay writing at school, college and then university formed my first experience of writing about other poets’ work. However, over the years, I found academic criticism was draining the life from my enjoyment of poetry. That’s why the process of starting to write reviews on my blog, Rogue Strands, in about 2009, became an ideal way to re-engage with poems and their potential readers, layering a rigorous approach with the pure relish of sharing stuff I love. For me, the best part of reviewing is when someone buys a book and finds pleasure in it on the back of my piece.
And as for the issue of what displacement activities I indulge in when I should be writing, I’m afraid my personal experience is the opposite: writing poetry is actually my displacement activity when I should really be doing all sorts of other things that spell R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y! Which is another reason why I’d never want to turn poetry into my job – doing so would kill my writing overnight.