Young Poet Laureate Update - Chelsea Stockham

With summer firmly over and the role of Young Poet Laureate gathering momentum, here's what Chelsea Stockham had to say about life and poetry since the Arvon Foundation residential.

How has the summer been since you became a Young Poet Laureate?

It’s been great. Not only did my writing develop so much during the Arvon Poetry week, but the experience was so much fun. We became really close as a group, and I soon felt completely at ease sharing a part of myself through poetry with everyone.

In terms of your poetry, what have you been up to since the Arvon poetry week?

I have a few poems in the works, plus a lot of ideas.

Also, as well as everyone else, I went to Joelle’s book launch in July. That was the first time I’ve gone to a poetry event; it was an incredible introduction to spoken word, especially with everyone having so much talent and performing their work so emotively. It’s influenced me to want to check out other events that are going on.

How have the skills that you gained on the poetry week helped you with your writing? The skills I’ve gained have completely transformed my writing. In general, I now write more freely and creatively – experimenting with ideas and techniques and trying not to worry about the final outcome, just as long as I get something written.

There are also some editing tips that have improved the quality of my writing, like being more selective with words. I used to worry about the fact that the majority of the poems I write are short, but I now know that no matter how much you write, there will always be value to your words.

Have you found inspiration in anything since visiting the Arvon Foundation? If so, what? Why?

At the moment - the news. There’s so much going on in the world at the moment that I feel drawn to writing about.

What poetry plans do you have for your allocated library/school? Will you be organising workshops, tutorials, guest speakers etc?

I’m going to be running a workshop sometime at my allocated school, as well as potentially start up a poetry club there. That’s just the beginning, though – hopefully there will be a lot more to come.

Have you been writing much poetry?

I’ve been trying to! I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, so it takes me a while to write a poem I’m completely satisfied with.

What do you hope to get out of this whole experience?

On a personal level, it would be great to start thinking about a potential career in poetry. Within the community, I’m hoping to make people aware of the poetry that is living and breathing right now. In its contemporary state, I think poetry is an art form that young people don’t have as much exposure to as they should.

What is it that you like about poetry?

One of the major things I like about poetry is its diversity. There are so many topics and themes, and everyone has their own voice: whether someone writes about social issues or a memory that may seem mundane, whatever they have to say is important. I truly believe there is a form of poetry (writing or reading) for everyone.