I was born in 1949 and grew up in the Chilterns. Since 2003, I have been living with Haakon in a hamlet in the Cantal, S W France, in an old granite house with a barn and an acre of land we bought in 1989. During this time, I’ve had poetry published in magazines including Agenda, Artemis, Caduceus, Obsessed With Pipework, Other Poetry, Pennine Platform, Resurgence, Tears In The Fence, The Frogmore Papers, The Journal, The North, The Rialto, THE SHOp. My first poetry collection, Walking The Hillside, came out with Waterloo Press in March 2015. My second collection, Breath and Sap, is now out (Chrysalis Poetry, June 2018). (Go to the Poetry page to read reviews of the books, and examples of poems). Three of my poems were chosen for Fanfare, an anthology of women poets, published by Second Light, 2015.
My blog is mainly on poetry and ecology. For the latest blog entry go to Blog and for all past entries go to Archives. For A Chiltern Childhood cards featuring five of my poems on childhood and illustrations by Dee, go to Cards.
My poem ‘Woodlanders’ was chosen as poem of the month July 2015 by Second Light Live. ‘Yellow Yolks’ was second runner up in the Frogmore Poetry Prize 2012. ‘Song and Swamp’ (a meditation on John Clare’s escape from the madhouse) was commended in The Second Light Long Poem competition 2012. ‘To Seek Their Fortune…’ and ‘River, Lake, Sea’ were short-listed in the Frogmore Poetry Prize 2008 and 2010.
I run a small chapbook enterprise called Inchivala Press with my daughter Hannah. Children, grandchildren and friends in the UK draw me there regularly.
I did a degree in English And American Studies at UEA 1967-70. At that time there were some inspiring writers who were teaching there such as Malcolm Bradbury, Lorna Sage, Angus Wilson, Jonathan Raban… They all recognised that I could write, but I was a very unfocussed student.
If asked why I write poetry, the answers lie somewhere in the region of wanting to preserve. To preserve what is of value – a moment, a person, a garden, a way of life, the spirit of place. Many of my poems have memory as a strong theme, both individual memory and collective memory. There are readings to be found about it being as much we who shape memory as memory that shapes us.
A big thank you to Hannah for helping me create this website and run my blog.