Best poetry habit: wild enthusiasm Worst poetry habit: craving an instant reader & praise. I have photocopying sprees & often fold a poem from my lucky dip stash into my pocket so I can mull it over on the bus. These range over all centuries & lands, poem as additional map & oyster card. I always have a bag big enough for reading, writing & drawing materials! If poet friends have a book out I’ll carry it around so I can read & also advertise. I’m a beastly proselytizer.
After he died, I held onto Michael Donaghy's Machines for a while. He was my first poetry teacher and I'll always remember his wit and deftness. This poem, about the agility and balance it takes to write and live, feels like he's still whispering advice to us through his own machinery of grace.
I’ve got a photo of 'para laura' by the Brazilian poet Adelaide Ivánova, in a collection I bought in Porto. Last year – or was it late 2017? – we translated the poem at the Poetry Translation Centre into English. It’s an astounding, hard-hitting poem about the violence committed against gay and trans bodies. I really wanted to get a physical copy of Ivánova's collection and, although I don't speak Portuguese, wanted to be able to read it in the original. I've also got a photo of Seán Hewitt's 'Waterlily', which I first read in Magma and is now in his amazing collection, 'Lantern’, published by Offord Road Books.
I might be in chaps, I might wrestle Kostya in some mud. I might box Astra, who knows .......
Best habit (also worst at the same time) is having a tendency to write poems about fellow poets. Worst is always being the last one chatting at poetry events - sometimes I get kicked out!