“It takes certain bravery to break away from a set path”

by Sonia Hadj Said

Jade Cuttle, 22, poet


What is your biggest struggle as a millennial?

I think other people’s expectations. I’m happy to say I’m just going to be a poet but I guess there is this expectation that you have a 9-5 job in an office. And I’m refusing to do that because I really don’t want that type of constraint. Because for my creativity that would be detrimental.

What do your parents say?

My family is supportive but there is this general vibe. Most of my friends went to 9-5 jobs in offices, I’m the only one doing freelance in my circle so I guess in that sense. I think it takes certain bravery to break away from a set path and say ‘this is the lifestyle I want’.

What is your biggest struggle as a young creative?

I guess it’s always hard starting out, particularly as a young person, you’re competing with people who are older and have more experience. You can’t expect to be paid a lot straight away, it takes years and years to build a reputation and I’m working on building that reputation at the moment. Gaining the support of BBC Music Introducing helped me in that and in getting more gigs.

Do you think a degree is worth much in today’s job market?

Yeah, It depends what job really, cause, like the “job” I’m trying to get is to be a poet so there is no path you can follow. So I’m not sure how a degree helps in becoming a poet directly, but in terms of being inspired, obviously.

Perfect scenario?

Just doing poetry as a radio show or teaching it. Professional poets have varied lifestyles to make enough money. So I’d hope it to be varied, to keep it dynamic. That’s why I’ve been avoiding 9-5. I guess a publication of my work as well, a collection. I’m also hoping to do masters in poetry.

Would that 9-5 make you less creative?

Possibly. I have alrady worked plenty 9-5. I did a month at BBC and a month at the Guardian. So I know the environment. It’s not that I didn’t like it, it’s just the feeling of being free. That’s the reason im trying to hold off. I’m sure in the future I’ll go to 9-5, well I don’t know really, I don’t know what the future holds. Maybe not.

Worst job experience?

Even as a litter picker, I managed to turn it into a productive experience. I wrote few poems about it, I drew inspiration from the fact that I was picking up cigarette butts. That job was going to teach me how to appreciate any experience. I mean, I was cold. And I was wet. At the same time, I looked for the good. I was outside, I got to look at puddles all the time. It gave me a new perspective and as a poet you always search for a new way of looking at the world.

Biggest accomplishment so far?

When I won a poetry competition on BBC Radio 3. That’s the biggest radio show I’ve done so far.  I didn’t expect it, but won the first place. We did a live interview it was pretty exciting.

What keeps you awake?

I’m worried about the future, the uncertainty, but I’m trying to be reasonable about all that. You can’t know what’s going to happen, just give it your best shot, really.

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