I initially learnt to write poetry as a means to improve personal communication skills. That process then unexpectedly uncovered increasingly difficult and unpleasant feelings, many forgotten for decades. Diagnosed as a historic trauma survivor in May 2019, mental health issues had previously hindered the entirety of my adult life. I continue to learn and understand what brought me here, and to control the effects those feelings still exert upon me. Undoubtedly, both routine and writing have become therapies for my condition.
After winning a Poetry Society members’ contest (and reading that piece at the Poetry Café in Covent Garden) I attended the inaugural Mslexicon in 2019, chosen as my first ever participative literary event. In that same year I wrote 24 poems about my home town for the Places of Poetry online initiative, one of which is included in the official anthology being published for National Poetry Day in October 2020 and reproduced by the Sunday Telegraph. This project then led to a poetry reading at Metal in Southend, with whom I’m currently gaining skills remotely via their New Artist Network scheme.
It seems odd, to be considered as a new artist at 53: anxiety is better managed and depression successfully countered with regular exercise plus a developing love of weightlifting. LGBTQI+ topics and political activism feature increasingly in my work. However, it is my own search for identity and understanding that undoubtedly propels current desires, perpetual pursuit of validation through words and actions that can effectively allow my past to be accepted, then left behind.
I’m also a passionate Time to Change Mental Health champion, using poetry as a means to challenge stigma and discrimination online, where I’ve lived and worked my entire adult life.