Singer backs bards ahead of National Poetry Day

Pete Doherty has revealed a new influence – classic poets.

The Babyshambles frontman explained that wordsmiths such as Emily Dickinson and Rimbaud have influenced his work.

He cited celebrated war poet Wilfred Owen as a big influence, and explained his liking for the genre.

“My old man was in the army,” he said. “It was just in my blood so strongly. It was like, ‘Dad’s in uniform, barbed wire and go off to war’.”

Doherty went onto to tell The Guardian that his time in prison allowed him time to focus on his love of poetry.

He said: “I had to go into something. I didn’t really know who I was and I certainly didn’t know what I was doing there. For fuck all, I ended up in Wandsworth and really, really, I was a bit green, y’know what I mean?

“I’ve got a shelf full of books with HMP Pentonville, HMP Wandsworth on them, smuggled ‘em out, yeah. ’Crime and Punishment’ I read! Except my cellmate at the time kept pulling his shorts down and getting his knob out, and going, ‘Is this normal, Pete?’ And I’m trying to read.”

Doherty also reveals that recently he hasn’t written as much of his own verses as he has wanted to.

“I haven’t been as prolific, shall we say, in the past six or seven months. But I’m picking up the pen again,” he said.

Doherty will celebrate National Poetry Day on Thursday (October 5) by reading the Siegfried Sassoon poem ’Suicide In The Trenches’ on ’Poetry: From Pete Doherty to Andrew Motion’, which is being shown by the Artsworld channel at 9pm.