Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Spaces and Places - Nikki Bennett

As a young girl, I used to hand-write and hand-sew books for my parents to ‘borrow’ from my bedroom library; as a young woman I wrote for the ongoing situations and people in my life – some of these became From Puberty to the Menopause, now re-named Love Poems a book covering a span of forty years.

I made my career in the world of TEFL/TESL, teaching in many countries and to a wide selection of age-groups and professions, and had the opportunity to travel widely, including on the Trans-Siberian Train, so gaining a wide international viewpoint (Trans-Siberian Travels), and to run a group celebrating International Poetry and Poets (uni-verse)

As a volunteer, I worked in many organisations and was International Director and then National President of Business & Professional Women UK and represented UK for that organisation at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, among other events. So grew my awareness of and need to write to highlight women’s issues (The Places We’re Touched).

My public reading spaces have been varied: I have had several solo spots in UK poetry festivals and poetry group readings and have also read in the USA and Europe, including at the conferences of International Women Writers’ Guild, New York state and Geneva International Writers. Again, often flagging up women’s circumstances and issues.

Spaces and places have been both huge and tiny in my life. I been awed by vast spaces, such as those in South Africa and the Sahara and also had to learn to live in a small space: cooped up in a tiny student room, a medical isolation room (Pink Nightie Poems).

At times, the spaces in my heart and head fill immensely and words flow out to fill a whole book concentrating on one person (The Pebble Collection, Love Shines Beyond Grief). Yet once these poems are ‘out there’ they find their own place in the world, people identify with them and they grow their own space.

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