It was an honour for me to launch my debut pamphlet at Ledbury Poetry Festival. In fact, it was a dream come true!
I was really proud to work with a poet I admire and respect (she happens to be one of my best friend's too, so that helps!), Ruth Stacey to create Inheritance : a collection of poems about motherhood and marriage.
When I wrote my poems, my second child had just been born and I felt lonely and isolated at home with two children under two. I loved my babies, but also felt like my own identity was slipping away. This project gave me a chance to focus on me, just for a moment in the small, quiet hours whilst my son breastfed or lay sleeping on my chest. Responding to Ruth's poems, was like hearing her voice - reminding me I had a sister who cared and had also felt the pleasures and pains of family life. This collection of poems was my connection to the outside world, to my own identity beyond mummy and wife. Family life had changed who I was, but I was still getting to know this new version of me; this collection records this journey. The irony of this collection is that it represents my struggle to come to terms with what motherhood and marriage might mean for my own ambitions and aspirations, yet it is this collection that catalysed my writing into the public domain, confirming that I am and could be a writer - and a mother, and a wife. It will always remain special to me because it represents so much: my feelings about my children; my struggles within my marriage; my friendship with Ruth; my first published work.
I was so nervous to read at Ledbury. Firstly because of the presitge of the Festival. I have often visited the Festival, attending readings and workshops which I have found exciting and inspiring. I had always hoped that one day, I might get the opportunity to be on the stage. Secondly, because this first published pamphlet was so very personal. The moments captured are sometimes very intimate, sometimes brutal and I knew my family and friends would be there in the audience. I am very glad that I had Ruth by my side. You can see Ruth and I perform here.
Ruth in the beautiful cobbled streets.
Relaxing in the sunshine outside Festival HQ.
It truly was an amazing experience which I will never forget, marking the beginning of my professional career as a poet.