Anyone interested in poetry and writing in Kent will probably know Vicky already. Or may have seen her around busy making sure poetry is part of our lives…
She was Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2007–2008 and the winner of the 2010 competition for a poem to represent Margate. There are many things I respect her for, but number one might be her work as a co-founder of WordAid, a Kent collective that publishes poetry to raise money for charity – so far the organisation has raised around £8,000 for Children in Need, ShelterBox, Dementia UK and other charities, see here and buy one. I really recommend the rich mix of voices inside.
You can read one of Vicky’s poems London Bus, here but for now, let’s have her finish my sentences.
When you were small, you wanted to … be a nurse. It didn’t occur to me that I could be a writer, or an artist, or even a journalist. Then one day my grandmother tripped and fell over the kitchen step and I ran away. Once she’d recovered, she said: “A fine nurse you’d make.” And I realised that being squeamish and afraid of blood and scared by people in pain might not be a great starting point for a career in medicine. My next idea was a bilingual secretary so I learned to type, which I’ve never regretted. Both were classic girls’ helping roles. At university I recognised that my first love was books and so went into publishing. Editing too is a classic helping role – always the midwife, never the mother. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I found out I could write too.
The one thing you can never resist is … the sea. I feel a perverse desire to dip my toes in, no matter how cold.
You may not say it aloud but… I ooze tears at the slightest provocation. When I was about seven my mother was shocked to find me in floods when she came home from visiting a friend. I didn’t dare tell her what the matter was, she panicked in case I was ill, and eventually I managed to sob out: “It’s Heidi!” Nowadays I’m particularly vulnerable to people trying and unexpectedly succeeding, or people showing or receiving unexpected kindness. Jim’ll Fix It, Ground Force and An Island Parish have all seen me weeping in the past. ‘Sweet is the Melody’ by Iris DeMent expresses it better than I can.
The last time you went ‘WOOP’ with excitement was … when I completed setting up a website for a project I’ve done with my stepdaughter. This is shameless self-advertisement, but if you want a Dorset writing retreat, then visit us here.
Your five favourite words are …. possibility, reflection, distillation, dance, aubergine.