All items: Walt Whitman

A poet who does not figure in my childhood anthology but who has become very important for me in adulthood is Emily Dickinson. If Dylan Thomas introduces you to intoxication, Dickinson shows you how to distill it.
That's how it is with me; once you've subsumed your own tone to the great and the good, it's curtains for plot development and time to put the kettle on.

John Siddique speaks with Frances Byrnes about his troubled childhood, how literature provided him with a proxy family, and the power of colours in his own writing.