An extract from "Negotiating the Days"
One side of the vase was raw,
black and gnarled,
and in its centre there was a hole,
a wound of burnt wood
puckered and black, the size of a bean.
which seemed appropriate.
In the 1960s, I came across Adrian Henri and the Liverpool poets. This was a life-changing moment. Until then I thought a published poet had to be a dead poet. Here I found not only a living poet, but someone who wrote about the things that mattered to me - music, love, art. He wrote about people my age. This seemed extraordinary. And so realised I too could write about the world around me. Later I discovered the Italian poet, Giuseppe Ungaretti and was astounded by his poems of very few words, and then the poetry of Leonard Cohen, to whom I am eternally grateful. No website of mine could be complete without homage to him.
Since those teenage years, I’ve discovered much wonderful poetry, many amazing poets. Too many on my bookshelves to list. But if you’re reading this and want to read poetry by people you may not have come across before, dip into - in no particular order - Charles Bukowski, Anne Carson, Billy Collins, Jo Shapcott, Pablo Neruda, Paul Durcan, Kathleen Jamie.
In 2000, the Leicester-based Soundswrite group was formed in Leicester. Meeting fortnightly, this is a forum for women who enjoy all aspects of poetry. We bring along our own poems to workshop and discuss and to read published poems that have intrigued and moved us enough to want to share with the group. From this emerged Soundswrite Press, which has now published a number of books by members of the group and has just published my pamphlet poetry, “Negotiating the Days”, which charts five years of cancer treatment. It is available from http://www.soundswritepress.co.uk/