I can remember being about 10 years old and we had a poetry workshop in school with a guy whose name slips my mind. But at the age of 10, names are unimportant. I just remember him being very tall and eccentric with greying, red hair and glasses that looked like they could have been homemade out of wire. I remember enjoying a poem he did that was reminiscent of a commentator for horse-racing, and this was possibly an early introduction to open-mic style beat poetry for me.

When it came to our turn to write and perform, even at that age I felt very self-critical so did not put my hand up to take part. There were a fair few hands in the air from the class. The obvious ones, of course, that are the first to put their fingers on their lips or say “Hummm… I’m telling the teacher” which made me all the more reluctant to share what I had written. I glanced over at our teacher, Miss Tarbet and she was gesturing for me to share my piece with the class. I was a little confused and nervous still so shook my head.

Mr Poet guy noticed this. So ignoring the desperate hands in the air from the rest of the class he asked me to stand up and share my poem. Rather reluctantly, I agreed. If I remember correctly I think it was about different audiences for different sports, the contrast between the composure of snooker to the hooliganism of football. (Obviously in a light-hearted, 10 year old point of view)

When I finished there was a great sense of achievement. The poet seemed impressed and Miss Tarbet, who was usually a tough shell to crack, looked really pleased. That was one of those moments where Mr poet guy must have spotted potential in the young me, and it’s funny because I get moments like that now when working with youngsters. There are certain kids that you just know will be creatively driven and artistic. That needs to encouraged and nurtured other-wise it can be bottled up through fear of ridicule.