How much is music an influence on what you write?

For me, and I think for a lot of people, music has punctuated my whole life and it's probably more of an influence on my poetry than other poems in some ways, because it has a certain rawness, particularly the kind of music I really really love to listen to which is blues and jazz and I'm always trying to find some way of expressing that musically. And also it seemed to me, because of being black and Scottish, that the blues and jazz would be a way of being black and being Scottish at the same time in words, because that's quite difficult to find, so I wasn't just being like another white Scottish writer. And because I didn't have access to being able to write in say...or wasn't confident enough to write in Caribbean voices or African voices, then it seemed that music was a lovely bridge for that. So I have written a lot about jazz and jazz itself interests me because it's such a fluid form and it comes from the blues and I like the idea that black music has shifted and changed. It's like identity in that way, identity's something that's fluid, it's not something that's static and fixed and I'm really interested in writing about identity and how fluid it is, how it's not something that we can just say this person is that kind of person and they stay that kind of person for ever. So music just has been I suppose a wonderful metaphor a wonderful live constantly changing thing to try and grapple with and write about and I think the wonder part about certain pieces of music is that when we're listening to them we can lose ourselves in them, but we can also find ourselves in them, that music defines us, but it also help us to lose our definitions.

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