“What’s a poet’s job?”
To “give voice maybe to where people who don’t have a voice”, he answers. “I think I heard one definition of poetry that is, ‘The best words in the best order’,” he says, quoting Samuel Taylor Coleridge. His job, he says, is to find those words.
From the age of 15, Cummins was writing poetry regularly. Patrick Kavanagh was a big
influence. As was a teacher who awakened him to the vibrancy of language, animating every poem and text with life through her recitals.
He remembers one day being caught by a teacher one day, writing lyrics at the back of the class. Rather than confiscating the notebook, or shaming him by making him read the words aloud, his teacher gave it back to him the following day, along with a book of poetry, and told him to keep at it.
Nowadays, Dublin writer Cummins works as a facilitator for workshops in schools on poetry, rap and lyrics.