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This interview is taken from PN Review 145, Volume 28 Number 5, May - June 2002.

in conversation with Anne Ridler, May 1997 and May 1998 Nik Simpson

NIK SIMPSON: Would you mind talking a little about how you first became interested in poetry?

ANNE RIDLER: My father was a poet. He was a schoolmaster at Rugby, very widely read and an enthusiastic reader of poetry. He wrote poetry in Latin as well as in English.

I did show some of my poetry to him but it was very much a different kind of poetry to his. He was not particularly interested in contemporary poetry. His contemporaries had been Browning and Tennyson and so on. Rupert Brooke had been a pupil of his at Rugby and Brooke's father had been the Housemaster of the House in which I grew up. Rupert Brooke loved the garden there as I did. It was a very nice Victorian garden with a big cedar tree that I used to climb. For the first dozen years of my life I lived as a small girl in the middle of the school society. I listened eagerly to the things that the boys did. My three elder brothers were all at school there. I was really like an only child with my brothers so much older, the youngest was five years older than I was. One of them was killed in the First World War. I had no companions in the evenings and spent all my time reading. I learnt to read from a book called Reading Without Tears which was the old phonetic method, 'The Cat Sat On ...

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