In March this year I was approached by Offa’s Press to submit material for a poetry pamphlet. The Offa’s Press manager, Simon Fletcher, was searching for three new voices from the West Midlands region to produce three pamphlets by the autumn of 2016.
I sent in a collection of poetry – new and old pieces of work and I didn’t think anything of it because Offa’s Press’s motto is ‘Good on the page and good on stage’. I thought there is no way I’m going to get published with Offa’s Press because I was terrified of the stage.
Although I had friends who read my work for me on stage and people did enjoy listening to my work, I did not have the courage to read myself. I think that my cerebral palsy was the main reason, as I was embarrassed about it to some extent, just in case I fell down or my words didn’t come out right.
A few months after I had submitted, I was informed that I had a good possibility to be published and was asked to go through the chosen pieces of poetry that would be compiled into a pamphlet. By the summer it was finalised that my work was good enough to be published and I was amazed to hear that I had been selected.
I think to be taken seriously as a poet/writer was something I had only dreamt about. Everything fell into place and the journey from then was very stimulating, fun and exciting – like choosing a title and the images for the cover page and ideas for the design/colour. My work was edited, shuffled about and commas, semi-colon and full stops were added/removed. I was not bothered about the editing process because I knew it was for the best.
Practising Performance Skills
Over the summer months I made progress with my performance skills, which was scary but very encouraging. Although, I knew I would never be a good performer on stage, I gave it a go and I felt valued and special because the audience genuinely enjoy listening to my work.
I started to feel, “Yes! I can do this!” I have made lots of friends in the process. Now I can say I have achieved something that I would never have done if it wasn’t for my mentor Simon Fletcher, who gave me one to one mentoring and he put so much confidence in me that it’s been a life changing experience. I would like to thank Offa’s Press for having faith in me and making it possible.
The Final Outcome
Finally, here it is “Patchwork” – it was launched on 11th October 2016 when I read my work in public, supported by Santosh Kumari.
I am very proud to present my first published poetry pamphlet along with “Wolverhampton Madonna” by Jeff Phelps and “Euphony” by Bo Crowder. Three beautifully produced poetry pamphlets by Offa’s Press. A dream come true.
If you missed the October launch there is another launch where Jeff Phelps and I will be reading. It’s on 12th November in Blakenhall, Wolverhampton at The Old School, 73 Dudley Road, Wolverhampton, WV2 3BY at 11am – 1pm. Refreshments will be provided. For a copy of the pamphlet please visit: Offa’s Press.