Heart Murmur, Calder Valley Poetry (2019), £7.00, available from: www.caldervalleypoetry.com
I’ve always written poetry. I enjoyed reading it at school because I had a wonderful English teacher who thought it was more important to listen to the rhythm and music of the words than understanding every image or metaphor in great detail. We listened to recordings of Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas and read TS Eliot’s Journey of the Magi while I was still at primary school. I had a privileged upbringing and parents who were both writers so my creativity was encouraged and stimulated from an early age. I was very lucky.
In 2015 I decided to do an MPhil in Writing at the University of South Wales, to learn more about the skills of writing. I chose the course after meeting the poet Philip Gross at the Hippocrates Poetry and Medicine symposium in 2013. I admired his work and was delighted to find that he was the convenor for the MPhil. The collection of poems I submitted for the degree was based on my experience of working as a GP and of being a patient myself. In 2018 I did a couple of readings at the Albert Poets in Huddersfield and the Puzzle Poets in Sowerby Bridge. Bob Horne from Calder Valley Poetry was there and very kindly offered to publish me. After several productive meetings with Bob at the cafe at the Piece Hall in Halifax, my pamphlet ‘Heart Murmur’ appeared in May 2019.
In the last three years my poems have appeared in several poetry magazines and been commended or won prizes in the YorkMix poetry competition, the Ilkley Literature Festival, the Hippocrates Poetry and Medicine competition and the Saltaire Festival Poetry competition. I regularly review poetry pamphlets and collections for the online magazine London Grip. My latest project is a celebration of Yorkshire with black and white photographer Bob Hamilton. He has supplied the images of landscape, city and people of this wonderful county and I have written the accompanying poems. The book is being published by Fair Acre Press in March 2022 and is called ‘Offcumdens’, a Yorkshire term for anyone not born in the county. Bob and I are both southerners who independently chose to make our homes in Yorkshire.