I began writing poetry out of despair, despair at myself and at my inability to transform my life or to transform myself. The first poem was very dark and very bleak if my memory serves, I have to rely on my memory for it was a good while before I thought to save any of my poems, for posterity, or print or whatever.
In the late Nineteen Eighties I bought the Eric Gregory Anthology of Poetry for that particular year. I don’t recall where I bought it or for that matter why I bought it but I do know that I took it with me to a Open University summer school at Sussex University. It was my engineers defence, for I was on a psychology course mixing with the cultured classes.
Throughout the week the book gave me an introduction to all manner of people; one lady even tore a poem out of the Guardian to give to me, it was a poem about the dangers of smoking, rattling phlegm and all that. I was a smoker at the time so I took her gift as a gift of art as well as a gift of care for my wellbeing. Poetry is useful like that.
I have built up quite a library of poetry books; one business lecturer I studied under called me esoteric (she was teaching Abraham Maslow’s Self-Actualisation Pyramid at the time), I would like to think that my poetry collection embraces that.
I have also for the last eleven years facilitated Creative Writing and Poetry Workshops, initially in parallel with my day job. The research for each workshop usually introduces at least one new writer to my list and allows me to make a deeper reading of the works that I already have.
Workshops are a place also where I can begin my new writing, my poetry is very much spun out of observation, either seeing and noting what is in my inner mind, or my outer world, as the jumping off point to write a few lines.
Poetry is an everyday event for me now, much as meditation or sports used to be, and as my paying work was. Poetry is a release and a reflection, poetry lets me be.