Monday, 2 January 2012
I grew up in suburban Manchester and was always interested in nature. I was an avid birdwatcher from an early age, and took every opportunity to take up binoculars whether in the garden or on family holidays. My first published piece of writing was when I was nine and I had a very short piece about (for some reason!) penguins published in the hospital magazine when I was a patient for a month. I also had a piece in the local church magazine when I was a young teenager. However, apart from that, and although my English teacher always praised my work, it wasn't until I left University that I first started writing at all seriously.
Soon after graduation I moved to Malaŵi for two years. The wonderful scenery and wildlife were totally inspiring and although I worked very hard as a teacher I found myself with plenty of spare time (and there was no such thing as TV in Malaŵi in those days). I naturally found myself using a fair amount of this time to write.
My first published poetry pamphlet was Bougainvillea Dancing a collection mostly inspired by my time in Malaŵi, which raised money for charities working in Malaŵi.
I currently work as a part time adult education tutor, leading birdwatching walks and teaching creative writing. I also volunteer for the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, which looks after one of Edinburgh's rivers. I walk along a stretch of the river every week, noting the wildlife and collecting litter. Every walk is different, I love watching the seasons change. The area I walk along is a real haven for wildlife, several species of bird live here and I sometimes see deer running beside the river (remember, this is not far from the centre of Edinburgh!). So as well as collecting litter, I always end up collecting inspiration for poetry! There's direct inspiration in terms of observing specific things that become a haiku for example or a short story. There's also indirect inspiration – just being out of doors, surrounded by nature is inspiring in itself.
© Juliet Wilson
Juliet's poem Cows in Meadow Flowers is published in Green Spaces: Poems From Poetry Space Competition 2012. Buy it from Poetry Space Bookshop £4.95until January 31st (retail price £5.95)
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