20 December 2016

Meet the voice and face of our TV ad – Laurie Bolger

You might have seen Laurie on our recent TV ad, reciting a poem she wrote about living with her partner. Well you’re probably not surprised to hear that wasn’t the first poem she’s ever written, we caught up with her to find out more about how she got into poetry.

Laurie is 27, a Stand Up Poet, Presenter & Facilitator from London. To find out more about her work visit lauriebolger.com.

How did you get into poetry?

"I've always been a massive fan of creative writing and would encourage anyone to do it. I used to scribble stories and poems at the back of my schoolbooks and although I was absolutely rubbish at guitar, I used to fill notebooks with lyrics as a teenager (they were very emo and I’m sure I would totally cringe at these now!).

I also had an amazing teacher who encouraged me creatively during my GCSE’s not only to understand and enjoy the poetry we were given, but not to be put off when thrown into exams and asked to write about it."

What’s your favourite poem?

"This is such a hard question! I love the poem ‘This Hour’ by Sharon Olds, it’s beautiful. I also love, and am constantly inspired by, the poetry of Zia Ahmed, Helen Mort and Tom Weir, among others."

Where do you get your ideas from?

"I think I take my ideas from what’s around me, I write a lot about place, relationships, community. I love the idea of us living in these funny little Box Rooms and all the drama that goes on within them. I like to write poetry people can understand and feel that it’s ok to be human when they read it. 

I also write with an organisation called The Poetry Takeaway – some of its work is from a converted burger van that serves poems based on any subject or theme, the public provide the ingredients and we write about almost anything! I find this opens up new ideas to me constantly and just meeting people, having a chat and hearing their stories is the most rewarding job in the world.

Finally, I get asked to write various commissions and these can be based on anything from lipstick to Tracey Emin’s Bed, to St. Paul’s Cathedral to trainers, to politics to… salmon! I’m genuinely inspired by everything but really it’s people I like to write with and about the most, oh and pubs."

How do your poems get seen?

"My debut poetry collection Box Rooms was published this year. I also try to post my poetry happenings and gigs on my Instagram and Twitter where I can, come and say hello! 

I think self-promotion is key and I love the poetry community for this, we constantly encourage and help each other and this is so important."

Why did you recently decide to work with Nationwide?

"Everything I wrote was honest and true to my life, that’s why I was happy working with Nationwide, I felt like my poetry was given total respect. I was given space and trust to create and craft my poems which I loved (particularly with the support of the creative team at VCCP and Poetry Takeaway).

I was truly listened to and that counts for a lot. I am chuffed with the positive feedback I’m receiving, especially when my words make people feel something, laugh or cry, that’s what poetry is for and it’s a beautiful thing."

What do your friends and family think about you being on TV?

"Oh my goodness me, well if I could compile all the texts and calls and messages I’ve had with “We’ve just seen you on TV… I nearly threw my cottage pie all over the ceiling when I realised it was you”, it'd be a poem in itself! 

Also, it’s funny because people seem to pick up on my voice before they see my funny face, which is great because that’s what I do, I speak for a living."

Are you working on any other poems at the moment?

"Yes, lots! I am currently writing towards my next collection and the encouragement I get from organisations such as Spread the Word and Apples and Snakes and The Poetry Takeaway is enormous. I’m also a member of some amazing writing groups setup by my excellent poetry peers such as TOAST and ‘writing crew’ as we call it.

Next year I hope to launch a brand new poetry podcast after the success of my award winning RoundHouse Radio show Round@Laurie’s and I am also hoping to release my first book for children, which I am very excited about."

Watch Laurie’s poem in our TV ad.

Play video - Watch Laurie’s poem in our TV ad laurie-bolger

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