JULY’S POET OF THE MONTH – LAURIE BOLGER

JULY’S POET OF THE MONTH – LAURIE BOLGER

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It all started in Mr. Chater’s English class where we studied poets like Carol Anne Duffy and John Agard in the AQA Anthology. I loved the mix of voices and how the poems sounded when they were read aloud. Although, saying this, I was always pretty nervous when asked to do so. Mr. Chater encouraged creativity and made the poems accessible and fun. His enthusiasm for words has a lot to do with where I am today.

10368924_10152120269367217_6541419335448910073_oI now work as a full-time stand-up poet/presenter/facilitator and I hold creative writing workshops in schools and youth centres most weeks. Teaching is one of the hardest jobs to do well, needless to say I meet a lot of teachers. The Mr.Chater-types are worth their weight in gold.

So back to me being an emo teenager with my head stuck in the school anthology! I used to do a lot of free-writing at home especially if something annoyed me, I wrote songs (really rubbish ones) and even hosted my own radio show from my bedroom.

I spoke into a giant ghetto blaster covered in paint, that mum and dad used to listen to when decorating. I’d interview my mates and insist that we make adverts and read the travel report as part of my “drive time show.” I also recorded stories and poems aloud to myself for hours! I still have these tapes somewhere now, I best burn them!

These days I present my own radio show live from Camden’s iconic Roundhouse. When I pitched my show to Roundhouse Radio over a year ago now, I knew it had to be something different so I thought, why not combine stand-up poetry and music? Two things I love.

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 23.07.39“Round @ Laurie’s” now goes live every Sunday at 7pm”bringing you an eclectic mix of music and a saucy spoonful of spoken word, to help you digest your Sunday roast or help nurse your hangover…so stick the kettle on and tune in.”

My highlight of last year was being asked to host the popular stand-up poetry night “BANG Said The Gun.”  This night is all about “poetry, not ponce,” and one of the best nights you’ll go to in London – it’s loud, in your face and a lot of fun. The audience is a total mix and each week I slap on my red lippie, do my hair and give my hosting role every bit of energy I have – I love it!

10401442_10152127739202217_3557390340847434562_nI am involved in a lot of cool projects at the moment, this year I worked as the Poet in Residence for the Olympic Park, in the gorgeous SPOKE London’s Poetry Potting Shed. I also do regular gigs with The Poetry Takeaway, writing bespoke poetry for the public, this is hugely rewarding.

When I’m not gigging I like to kick back with some Wordsworth and a herbal tea. NOT!! I was in the staff room in a school just the other day and a teacher said to me – “oh so you’re a poet, well I’d love to sit at home and write poetry all day…”

I felt like going “chance would be a fine thing mate!! I never stop chasing opportunities. I wake up and each day is entirely different. If it wasn’t for coffee I’m not sure what I’d do to be fair.”

Whether it’s workshops, gigs, festival performances, literary events, radio or hosting nights…I rarely have a day off, but if you’d asked me when I was 10 years old and chatting into a ghetto blaster, what I would want to be doing at 24…it would be exactly this.

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