A collection of fifty four poems which has taken nearly two years to complete. A two year journey which has seen my poetry change as my attitudes have changed, as I have learned more. At some points I think a reader might wonder if the poems at the end of the collection were written by the same person as those nearer the beginning.
The journey started when a poem that I read at a local Stanza group was well received. One of the members, very active in the publishing world recommended that I put together a collection on the same theme. At the time it sounded plausible, and if not easy, then at least do-able. I was not prepared for the days when I could find no words. Others when I was sick of the sound of my own voice, that same voice that it took me ages to find and then even longer to believe in.
Oddly, now that I had an undreamed of opportunity to write to a concrete purpose, my confidence fled along with any words that, put together, didn’t sound crass or clichéd. I began to doubt whether I had anything of meaning to say at all. It was at these lowest points that I thank the gods for friends and, most of all, writing friends. Without the support and encouragement of the writing groups I belong to, and, much later, on-line contacts, I would have been the poet who squandered her best opportunity to be published.
Not that publication is a certainty, or even more than a remote possibility, but the point is, I made it to my fifty poem target. I said what I wanted to say, once I started writing from within myself once again rather than with lofty thoughts in my head. More than that, I have submitted a full collection to a publisher for consideration. I am even resolved that when ( dare I think ‘if’) I get the rejection letter, I will pick myself up, dust off the poems in line with any suggestions and submit them somewhere else.
This journey has been long and one of considerable self-searching about why I need to write, who might want to read my words, and on one glorious occasion, even hear me read them in the Poetry Cafe in London. It has embraced my darkest fears when my son was in danger (the theme is the effect on a family of having a soldier serving in a theatre of war), to the great moments when he walked back into the house, safe. It has led me to investigate forms of poetry, their effect on the thread of the words and their meaning. It has encouraged me to learn about other countries suffering great conflict, their cultures and beliefs; to question my own thoughts, reactions and opinions.
In short, it has been an amazing experience and has led to a body of poems that I am proud to have put together. So, ‘Deployed’ a collection of poems about the realities of war as experienced by the families left at home is, as I write, in the post to a publisher.
My question now is, what next? I find I am casting around looking for the next project , searching for my next big idea…