Culture vulture

9th June 2006 at 01:00
Kate Potts is inspired by everything from human skulls to tea bags

Books I like

Morvern Callar by Alan Warner, is about a girl whose novelist lover commits suicide and who passes off his book as her own. I enjoyed the exploration of the idea of authorship. I also love Stephen Mitchell's version of Gilgamesh. I'm fascinated by the way mythology is interpreted at various times and by various cultures, for example, the way the Victorians portrayed myth compared with today.

Film I love

Y Tu Mama Tambien (pictured) by Alfonso Cuaron, set in Mexico, is about the friendship between two teenage boys and a woman. It uses the road movie format, but it's so original and subtle.

Best inspiration

A medical student friend took me to the pathology museum in a London hospital. There were lots of things in jars, like a baby in a womb, which was really shocking, and skulls from around the world. It gave me such an insight into the Victorian concept of the body and the importance of categorisation and medical authority.

Best resource

I bring everyday objects into class, such as corkscrews and scissors, and use them as a starting point for creative writing. I am interested in the magical properties of everyday objects and the associations they conjure.

It's always surprising the ideas that come out of lemons or tea bags.

To share with students

Next year I'm going to take my students to hear some really good performance poetry. I want to get them away from the concept that poems are simply about searching for meaning for an exam; they don't see them as part of an oral tradition, as something enjoyable and accessible.

Looking forward to

A week on an Arvon Foundation writing course at Totleigh Barton in Devon this summer. It's my prize in the Booktrust teachers' writing competition.

Even though London inspires most of what I write, it's good to get some physical distance from it.

Kate Potts, 28, a poet, is in her first year of teaching English and key skills at Southwark College. She was recently overall winner in a Booktrust and London Metropolitan University creative writing competition for London teachers. Interview by Elaine Williams

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