Everything has happened in the last couple of years. Not least, I am now living in Dublin. We moved during the pandemic last July and it was a surreal experience to say the least. I can’t say I’ve got to know the local poetry community here yet because of lockdown, but as things appear to be easing, I hope to establish contact.
I’ll publish a series of new posts here to update you on what’s been happening. Suffice it to say that this site is still showcasing pictures of Teesdale, and I’m leaving those as is for a little while, for reasons which will become apparent.
My pamphlet of poems, entitled The Ship Owner’s House, is still available from Vane Women Press.
Why did we move from the (now infamous) Barnard Castle, across the Irish Sea to Malahide, in North County Dublin? It’s always the same reason. Work. I didn’t have a job, and my husband was made redundant (Imagine! His expertise … Continue reading →
I’ve been quiet for a long time. When my head is full of what’s going on in the world, it’s hard to get into the frame of mind for a poem. I’ve tended to sit and brood, between marches, on what’s to become of us. I feel it is imperative for poets to speak about the state we’re in, but when I try to, it doesn’t necessarily make for my best poetry. It’s not emotion recollected in tranquility. However, other poets are doing better than I am. Bill Herbert and Andy Jackson have managed to collect a good crop of poems about Brexit, Austerity, Trump, and the Far Right in the latest chapter of New Boots and Pantisocracies where I was honoured to have a poem included.
It’s a year since my pamphlet came out and I’m grateful for two reviews from people who actually understand exactly what I tried to say. London Grip‘s James Roderick Burns gave a very kind review and Rennie Halstead in Sphinx talks about my interest in the outsider, here. I’ve still got a few copies of the book, by the way, if anyone wants one.
In many ways, poets are always outsiders. It’s easy to notice things when you are observing them rather than being involved. It’s easier to notice the uniqueness of places and people and attitudes when you come from a different place. I remember being forcibly struck by Glyn Maxwell’s poem, ‘Come to Where I’m From‘, for a witty and poignant evocation of a place that maybe few people feel is poetic (Maxwell comes from Welwyn Garden City).
I’m still writing about places; Teesdale, where I am living now, and lots of places from my past. Since moving north five years ago I’ve noticed the huge difference between the way that poets in the Thames Valley talk about their home towns and the way Teesside poets talk about theirs. I’m a bit obsessed, right now, with what makes England, and what makes the English. That’s just a reflection of the times we live in.