In Poetry Changed Me, we’ll be asking young people, teachers, parents, poets, arts professionals and all kinds of people how poetry has impacted their lives. We begin with Pete Hunter, South East poet and programme coordinator for Apples and Snakes South East.

Poetry literally changed my life! The first time I got up to read a poem at an open mic in Bristol I had challenged myself to read in public because I heard that more people are afraid of speaking in public than are afraid of dying and I didn’t want to be a part of that statistic. From that first shaky reading of one dodgy poem to a dozen or so people I caught the bug and went on to regularly perform, then slam, then run events, then perform around the UK and in Europe and America. My confidence grew, my circle of friends grew and my experience and horizons expanded. As a poet I have toured nationally, appeared at numerous festivals over the past ten years and written for national radio, all because I took that first terrifying step onto a stage in a cafe in Bristol.