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Transcript

Where do you get your ideas for poems?

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Where do you write your poems?
I'm sitting in a little stone building half way down my garden and I call it 'The Hut' and this is where I do all my writing. It's nice to be able to get away from the house and to be absolutely private and on your own and of course nobody's going to worry whether I leave papers or books lying around. I can make as much mess as I like.

Do you get inspiration from your readers?
I do get inspiration from my readers and I meet many of them when I visit schools as an author for a book week, or a book day or a book festival. It's interesting to watch what children are up to in schools and to note the peculiar habits of teachers and head teachers.

Can you read me one of your poems about school?

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How long does it take you to write a poem?
It takes me a long time to write a poem because I do work very slowly. Once I've got a subject matter I then try to work out a rhyme scheme and also give the poem a particular shape on the page. I do like to make each poem look different and sound different.

What was the first poem you wrote?
The first poem I wrote was a poem about a dinosaur called 'Stegosaurus'. Many years ago when I was a teacher, I'd been working with my class on the subject of dinosaurs and I decided for the first time in my life I would try to write some poems for my class about dinosaurs.

What's your favourite poem that you've written?

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Do you illustrate your own poems?
I don't do any of the illustrations. Of course it's wonderful when a really talented artist comes along and adds to the poems by terrific pictures. I'm always surprised at the illustrations that appear beside the poems.

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