Katy Else is a South-West Shadow Poet on Shake the Dust. Katy tells us how Poetry has changed her…

“At school I loved English, fantasy fiction and wild stories but it wasn’t until I hit my teens that I really started writing. I used to be all Gothic and write by moonlight and larva lamp, and what came out onto the paper was poetry. I wrote and wrote streams of consciousness that nearly always happened to rhyme, that was just what I did. It became my escape and I used to be very self conscious about all my writing books, hiding them away so no-one could read them.

I went to University in Plymouth and discovered Forked! at The Barbican Theatre, Plymouth, a spoken word night. I fell in love. I really did. Suddenly I remember thinking, this is something I want to do, and then it all came together. All the years of my poetry really meant something, it wasn’t something to be hidden away, it was a real art, a talent, a skill that I wanted to share, just like all the other amazing people I watched on stage, wide-eyed. So from then on I wrote more and more and you-tubed spoken word artists and Apples and Snakes got really into rappers and MCs as well as loads of other performance poets, and all I wanted to do was say that “I am a spoken word artist”.

When I heard about Shake The Dust I flew home from Thailand and the next day attended a training day to help my application to become a shadow poet. So here I am now, a shadow poet for the South West,not only working for Apples and Snakes but working IN that Barbican theatre, all these things were just a dream to me before but my passion for poetry made the reality! Not only that but my confidence has grown and grown and I can’t wait to get up on stage and let everyone hear my words. I have even won a competition and have become the South West representative for the 12 poets of 2012, where I help to collaborate a poem with other winners from the other regions which is to then be displayed in the. Poetry has given me so much, and through Shake The Dust, I have also undertaken voluntary Youth Support roles which has brought me onto my new venture to do a MA in Social Work. I have high ambitions to use poetry in every way possible to help it change other peoples lives too.


So how has Poetry changed me? Well, poetry made me.”