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'Get geeky!': Advice from award-winning poet ahead of talk at Royal Holloway

Posted on 18/03/2013

The fourth instalment of the Lunchtime Readings series at Royal Holloway sees award-winning poet Daljit Nagra reading from his anthologies, which draw on the experiences of British-born Indians and are often written in the style of the English spoken by Indian immigrants.

Winner of the South Bank Show Decibel Prize in 2008 and two-time winner of the Forward Poetry Prize, we asked Daljit to share some of his top tips for becoming a successful writer:

Seek violent feedback

Don’t seek praise. Grab your feedback person by the neck and get them to tell the TRUTH about what they think doesn’t work!

Keep the poem alive

Never set it in stone. Rethink the shape, the length, the line breaks - everything, all the time. The poem is only finished when it’s published in a book.

Get geeky

Learn the basics of writing poetry such as verse forms and rhythms.

Be a library rather than a book

Spend more time reading than bragging about how you’ve written an amazing bunch of poems. Sit in the library and vacuum up its store of contemporary poets, reviews and critical appreciations of poets.

Become poem mad

Consider everything as material for a poem! An overheard conversation, a flyer on the floor, a flooded kitchen floor should all excite your poetry nerves with a freakish desire to use that experience for a poem.

Daljit will read from his works Look We Have Coming to Dover! and Tippoo Sultan's Incredible White-Man-Eating Tiger Toy-Machine!!! at 1pm on Thursday, 21 March, in the Students' Union Main Hall. This will be followed by a Q&A and a chance to buy the books and get a signed copy. The event is open to all students, staff and members of the public and is free to attend.

More information about the series is available here.



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