Helen Mort: Derbyshire’s Poet Laureate

SONY DSCHelen Mort is a woman walking around with poems in her head.

She picks up little bits and pieces of life as she goes through the day and stores them in her sub-conscious until they match up with something else and pop out as poetry.

“I sort of get ambushed by them,” said the 28-year-old who has just been appointed as Derbyshire’s new poet laureate.

“For me poems never appear in a structured way. I write them in my head. Sometimes I hear a line and I can keep it there for six months. I take a long time over them.

“You cannot force a poem out but in general if something is important enough or urgent enough it will find its way out,” she explained.

She says that she started writing as a young child living in her beloved Chesterfield and even then she simply dictated them for her mother to write down.

Helen’s interest in poetry grew while she was at Hasland School in her home town and since those early days she has won the Foyle Young Poets Award five times, received the Eric Gregory Award and won the Manchester Young Writer Prize.

She is thrilled to have been made the poet laureate for the county and wants to use her two years to work with schools, in workshops and generally promoting her genre.

“I will have various commissions to do but I will also have freedom to work on other projects. One that I am really looking forward to is a residency at Chesterfield Football Club. I am passionate about sport and exercise and this will involve both of those,” she said.

Helen, who is currently studying for a Phd at Sheffield and currently lives in Hathersage, is already holding an open mic night for poets on the first Wednesday of every month at the White Swan pub in Chesterfield and she definitely hopes to carry on doing more like that.

“I like to think of myself as a sort of ‘go-to person’ for aspiring poets,” she said.

To find out more about Helen and her publications go to http://www.helenmort.com