WHEN you think of popular poets, you'd be forgiven for instantly thinking of historical greats such as Robert Burns or E. E Cummings.

However, one determined wordsmith is playing his part in changing the poetry scene and bringing it to the masses.

Stephen Watt of Old Kilpatrick is wowing crowds with his infectious reflections on today's society and gritty tales.

The 33-year-old first started getting creative and writing his own poems at the age of 19 and despite not being enthralled by the likes of Plath and fellow famous poets, he found that he had his own way with words and hasn't looked back since.

Inspired by punk poets such as John Cooper-Clarke and Patti Smith, but also influenced by the story-telling methods adopted by Carol Ann Duffy and Angela Readman, he is bringing popular modern poetry to the forefront.

"I started writing poetry at the age of around 19 or 20 but it was something that I did for myself, it wasn't really for anyone else," Stephen revealed to Livebank.

"But when I was reaching 30 I learned that there was a vibrant spoken word scene where you could perform your own stuff.

"There are a lot of open mic nights in Glasgow and I have always enjoyed going to gigs so I thought that I'd give it a go.

"It took me more than 10 years to get on a stage and share my work, but I felt brilliant when I did - it gave me a real buzz." Since then Stephen has become a regular on the spoken word scene in both Glasgow and Edinburgh and regularly showcases his work at competitions all over the country.

And his way with words and knack for depicting realistic, true life stories through the use of his poetry won Stephen a Poetry Slam in Peterborough and has since had a collection of his work published in his first ever anthology, Spit.

He continued: "I remember when I entered the competition I just went to Peterborough with my friend for a bit of a laugh and a trip - I didn't expect to win.

"I won out of 8,000 entries - it was amazing.

"And the feeling of seeing my work published was incredible. I remember being at Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street for the book launch and seeing the book and just being in awe.

"It's been such a buzz." In Spit the poet, originally from Dumbarton, shares poems from both a personal and fictional point of view. From the Glasgow characters you might meet on Sauchiehall Street on a Friday night to highlighting issues often seen as taboo such as mental health, Stephen's work offers a frank description of the urban landscapes we all know.

"I love story telling," he added.

"Some of my poems stem from fiction but lately I've been writing more personal stuff and I think that people relate to it - it's all about connecting with people.

"I also think that sometimes it's good to inject comedy into real life situations to help deal with certain situations." One personal poem, Apples, recently won the Old Kilpatrick based poet the Federation of Writers (Scotland) Vernal Equinox.

Apples was inspired by the landscapes Stephen passed while travelling to his Uncle Billy's funeral in the Scottish Borders.

And as a special thank you to Macmillan Cancer Support staff who looked after Billy before he passed, Stephen donated the prize money from the competition to the leading cancer charity.

With huge support from friends and family, Stephen plans to continue performing and writing, following in the footsteps of his grandfather.

He said: "My family and my friends are really supportive even though they don't always understand what I'm doing.

"My grandpa used to write poetry and my mum showed me a book that he wrote back in 1934 when he was 19. It's a crazy coincidence that we were both 19 when we were writing poetry." And Stephen has advice for anyone interested in getting involved in the spoken word scene.

"I think that there is this idea that poetry is for intellectuals. I don't have a degree and I've never been to any creative writing classes but I was inspired by Brit Pop stars such as Pulp and Suede and the twisted characters that would emerge through their stories.

"You just need to find your inspiration and the confidence to share your work. Try it one night and you'll get a real buzz." Check out www.facebook.com/StephenWattSpit for more information about Stephen and his work.