AN INFLUENTIAL poet whose work has been studied in countries across the world drew his creativity from his home town.

Tommy Sissons, from Brighton, released a book last year which was sold in Waterstones and has become a subject of study for university students in Colombia, Germany and other countries.

The book, Goodnight Son, describes Tommy’s absent relationship with his father and he says his writing style is testament to the city he grew up in.

Tommy, 21, went to Elm Grove Primary School before moving to Varndean High School where he began to recognise his talent and wanted to utilise it.

He said: “During my years at Varndean, I saw a lot of friends from my local area getting into criminal activity and in the space of a few years a lot of lads I knew passed away from a variety of different causes.

“Being raised among other working class adolescents has given me a strong sense of solidarity for my community and I aim to speak for those who do not feel they have a voice, because I know how it feels to be in that situation and so do many other young people I know.”

Tommy believes his upbringing in Brighton has been the platform for his success, saying: “Brighton is the foundation of all my writing. I wouldn’t be writing in the same way if I wasn’t from there.

“The most authentic writing comes from real-life experience so I’ve always tried to document the environment I was raised in in accurate detail, paying attention to events and different types of people that you find around the city, both good and bad. It’s all about recognising and appreciating your roots.”

Previously of Brading Road, Brighton, Tommy now lives in London where he recently completed a degree in English and comparative literature at Goldsmiths University.

His work was studied by students at the University of Trier in Germany where a student contacted him for help with her coursework.

He said: “A student from the university told me her creative writing degree class was studying a module on spoken word and their teacher had shown them some of my videos as an example of British poetry, so I answered a few of their questions to help them out with their coursework.

“Hopefully it will continue to spread to other countries and I can look into getting it translated for nations where English isn’t a common language.”

As well as having his work studied abroad, Tommy tries to help out back home as much as possible to influence younger generations, using poetry as an alternative way of educating.

He visits youth centres and schools in Brighton when he is back home and runs open-mic poetry nights.

Tommy said: “A lot of young people don’t have very positive role models around and I want to try and fill that void as much as I can.

“When I do workshops with adolescents I aim to provide them with a form of informal education, focusing on channelling energy and pent-up emotions through creativity.

“I think it’s helped a lot of young people tap into their unconscious creative mind so far and hopefully it will continue to with many more.”