About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Friday, 29 October 2021

Poetry changes lives

You hear it a lot. Poetry changed - or saved - my life. And it's not just me saying it, though I do have cause to be grateful, since this month marks ten years since my first collection, 'Communion', was published by Indigo Dreams and my life's ambition - to occupy a few millimetres on a bookshelf somewhere - happened. Since then, I've had three further collections published by the wonderfully generous Ronnie and Dawn, as well as a now suddenly topical coming-of-age novel set during the Black Death. 

Good things continue to happen for me where poetry is concerned. I'm currently more than half way through an MA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School. Recently one of my poems was shortlisted in the 2021 Bridport Prize. And in February 2022, my next collection, a series of poems about my home city, Bristol, entitled 'Learning Finity', will be published.

After my children, my poems are my best things. I could never have dreamt I would be writing this post a dozen years ago, when I was at my lowest ebb. 

Talk to most poets and you'll likely find some sadness hidden not too assiduously in the background. Poetry attracts thinkers, and maybe also over-thinkers. Reading it can be a source of comfort. Using metaphor to shape loss, and come to terms with our unspoken fears, is a powerful way of moving past them. Noli timere, to quote Seamus Heaney.

The Leaping Word is a poetry consultancy established by me and Colin Brown, who for many years was director of Poetry Can in Bristol. We run poetry groups and workshops and offer help with editing poems, putting together manuscripts, approaching publishers with submissions, poetry performance, and putting on poetry events.

Colin is also a qualified counsellor and in addition to general counselling, he offers sessions specially tailored for writers and artists who engage with personal experience in their work. Support can be sought in relation to specific issues that are being explored, or the feelings engendered by such exploration, as well as issues of privacy and self-care. 

You aren't alone. Don't be afraid. 

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