I have been writing and publishing poetry for the last 10 years. I have three collections – The Call of the Unwritten, Arriving in Magic and A Night Sea Journey. Discovering a calling to write poetry later in life has propelled me into spending more time in the Rivelin Valley where I live, on the outskirts of the City of Sheffield. A place with roots going back into the industrial revolution, where millstone grit was used with water wheels to grind the first products made from iron and steel. The valley has now returned to its rural life with small farms and stables. Herons fly up and down the valley and fish now fill the river. Near to the village of Stannington, I am constantly reminded that the city reads like a collection of villages welded together by our industrial past revolving around a city centre vibrant with artistic and civic buildings that speak of past prosperity and other parts that speak of our present inequalities.
This spaciousness in my life was further opened up by my anxiety breakdown in 2014 and it has, once I learned to accept it, invited me to a more thoughtful and considered way of life. I try to record the peaks and troughs of my life’s journey in these volumes, and in my present writing; what they evoke in me and the life I have found. Recently I have discovered another creative outlet in podcasting where I present myself as the anxious poet. In each episode I work with my own and other’s poetry and have conversations with others on a similar path. I have discovered a real hunger for writing in others and have facilitated writing workshops and I now run two writing groups at my home. So far these groups have produced a volume of poems entitled The Rivelin Writers Vol One.
The Coronavirus has further deepened my connection with the valley and the city as I have had far more time to walk paths previously untrodden. I have also kept my connection with the harder side of the city by delivering food parcels for St Cuthbert’s Foodbank in Fir Vale.Though it is a tragic and deeply anxious time I know I am deeply fortunate to live where I do. I hope I can continue to record all these peaks and troughs with a poet’s faith.