Freelance writer and Latvian-English literary translator

The poem I found under Russian snow

When I travel to a new city, it will speak to me, if only I let it. It will tell me stories in its own language – the church bells, the car horns, the swear words, the grins and frowns of people. It will also tell me things that I didn’t know about myself.

I will take out my recorder and listen out for what it has to say, then run back to my hotel room and put it all down, before it’s gone. Inspiration isn’t a 9-5 job. It comes when it pleases and leaves when it’s done. It doesn’t care about what’s going on around you – it only ever wants to play.

For me, poetry is not about writing a poem – it’s about creating that mental space where the poem can find you, and then listening. This is the poem that found me in St Petersburg.

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