British champion poet on stage in Wellington

London-based poet Harry Baker is heading to New Zealand for a Poetry in Motion.
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London-based poet Harry Baker is heading to New Zealand for a Poetry in Motion.

British poet Harry Baker knows a thing or two about poems.

The former maths student was crowned the youngest ever world slam champion for poetry in 2012.

He has presented his rap-like rhymes and word plays in rap battles, for Ted Talks and for poetry evenings.

The 23-year-old is now heading to the southern hemisphere to tour Australia and New Zealand.

He is coming to Wellington to kick off Poetry In Motion's monthly events for 2016 and perform at a Wellington Pub Poet's Society event.

Baker studied maths for four years at university and has collided his two passions by writing maths poetry.

Though he used to keep the two worlds separate, he has started to see the link between the two. 

"They are both about searching for answers and working out problems," he said. 

"When I'm figuring out how to end a poem I get a similar feeling to when I'm working out a maths problem - if one way doesn't work I approach it from a different angle."

Since graduating last August, Baker has been a fulltime poet.

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Being able to write poetry without feeling guilty for not studying is a new sensation for Baker.

His one worry about devoting all his time to poetry is falling into the trap of only writing poems about being a poet.

"The most important thing for me is to also have a life and interact with people - that's where my inspiration comes from."

Baker, born in Bath and raised in London, said poetry had always been a big part of his life.

The earliest poem he remember writing was for a competition when he was 10. The prize was a box of chocolate, so he wrote about chocolates.

Since then, the has developed his own spoken word style that borders on rapping. 

"In spoken word poems, you can hear an internal rhythm and metronome.

"When you're rapping, it's harder to break away from the music, but in poetry there is the freedom to change the pace."

Poetry In Motion's 2016 Kickoff featuring Harry Baker is on at Meow on February 3 at 7.30pm. Entry is $3-$5.

He will also perform at Moon in Newtown on February 4 at 7pm. Entry is $10.

 - The Wellingtonian

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