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How did being a poet start for you?

I remember when I first heard (poet) Joseph Coelho – it was at a writing workshop at the Lyric in Hammersmith and they performed poetry. And I remember being completely knocked sideways; I just didn’t understand that that was poetry. It really spoke to me. It had language that I understood and pattern and rhythms that I connected to as a teenager. That really spun me off the course I was on and put me back on the course I should be on.

Why did writing and performing poetry appeal to you?

As a teenager I didn’t know how to say all the things that I felt. I felt that I didn’t have a talent or anything to contribute. I was just Deanna. And it was quite a frustrating place to exist in – when all your mates are intelligent, great at art, popular and you just feel bland.

If your teenage self could see you now, what would she think?

I think she’d be a bit confused. But I think she’d be proud and relieved that we’re doing something that we love, and that we’re good at and we finally found it. Phew!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

The best advice I’ve ever been given is to be grateful for everything. And that builds up into a wonderful bank of lovely goodness that you can tap into when you feel sad. So that’s what I do.

How do you find your confidence?

You can be quietly or loudly confident. But I’m still learning. Who knows? No one knows!


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