‘The Birmingham Post said they’d rather go to the dentist than sit through my first play again. I actually agreed with them’When did you start writing poetry?At art school in the late 1960s. When I was at school, and was supposed to be studying for my highers, I was always drawing. And then when I got to art school, and was supposed to be drawing, I started writing.What was your big breakthrough?A poetry event at Edinburgh University in 1972, called Poem 72: I was on as a support act to Norman MacCaig (1) and, as everybody was there to listen to him, they all heard me, too. One of them was Gordon Wright, who became my first publisher: a few months later, he got a small grant to put out my first collection, which sold 5,000 copies.Did you always set out to perform your poems?Yes – for me, writing poetry has always been about putting sounds down in black and white. I refuse to make a distinction between “page poetry” and “spoken-word poetry”. If it’s good spoken-word poetry, I want to read it on the page as well. And if it’s a proper poem, it should be performable.What does being …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books