This week we chat to author and poet, Laura Tapper. Laura has a number of her wonderful poems in our “little books” which are on sale now. That’s our annual, Fireside and Friendship books!
Tell us about your love of poetry.
‘When We Were Very Young’, and ‘Now We Are Six’ by A. A. Milne were two of my favourite books when I was small and I found myself able to recite many of the poems by heart without trying to learn them. Rhythm and rhyme always felt natural and when I became a singer as well, learning lyrics came very easily to me. I studied literature and music to degree level, reading modernist, Victorian, romantic and war poets and singing everything from traditional folk to madrigals and opera. My tastes remain eclectic, but in my heart I prefer poetry that expresses truths I can identify with, in a way that is recognisable and intelligible.
Who are some of your favourite poets?
This is such a difficult question, because I could go on listing forever! Beyond Milne, I admire Stevie Smith, Grace Nichols, Tennyson, Seamus Heaney, John Betjeman, Katharine Tynan and Sheenagh Pugh.
How long have you been writing poetry?
In truth, I started writing poetry when I was in primary school and definitely had some terrible pieces published in the school magazine in high school! It’s something I have always enjoyed and return to.
What inspires you?
Mostly, ideas tend find me at odd moments when I least expect them. A line or two, or even just a small fragment of a phrase, will wander through my mind and then another little snippet of something else will catch it’s hand. Before I know it, they’ve gathered a few other bits and pieces and become half a stanza. Trouble is, if I don’t hurry up and find a notebook and pen, they will start unravelling, drift away and lose themselves. It’s most frustrating – especially if I’m in the shower or busy with something else!!
In what other ways do you enjoy being creative?
As a junior school librarian, I am lucky enough to be involved with writing groups and lots of other activities with the children, so I am able to share my creativity with them. I also teach English as a second language to refugee groups and need plenty of creativity in that role, to help all the students to feel confident and find the fun in the learning process. When I do get some free time, though, I like to play the piano and do embroidery.