Tuesday 21 January 2014

Breaking Through - Beverley Ferguson, winner of the first Poetry Space Competition in 2010 considers the transformative role of poetry in her life

Winning the Poetry Space Limited Competition 2010 with my poem ‘Illness’ has been transformational in many ways.
I was inspired to enter the on-line competition mainly because of the words used to define Poetry Space Limited:“Poetry Space Limited is a company that is dedicated to promote and nurture creative expression without fear, judgment or prejudice.”

Although I had been writing poetry most of my life I had only recently discovered that you actually worked on poems – that you could workshop poems with other poets. This was a revelation to me. It was the start of broadening my concept of what poetry is and how words and images are communicated to other people. At that time I was writing short poems exploring capturing my feelings with only one or a few images. I was inspired by the poet Elaine Feinstein and had heard her read at the Toppings bookshop in Bath.
Artwork by Beverley Ferguson

My poem ‘Illness’ is a poem I wrote in an attempt to capture some of the feelings I experienced on my return home from a long stay in hospital. Although my return was from a psychiatric hospital I knew that my feelings of loneliness, confusion of identity and disorientation could apply to anyone’s experience on returning home from hospital.
What meant the most to me on winning the competition was reading the feedback from the judge Philip Lyons. Here was somebody I had never met yet I had communicated an important experience, my words had resonated with him. It was an extraordinary feeling. For the first time for many years I had a voice - and it had been heard.
The experience of connecting with other people through the power of words has encouraged me to keep writing poetry. Although I write journals and have a creative writing practice, poetry continues to be my main expression. My words naturally flow into poetic forms.

I have been invited to co-facilitate a writing group in Bath with Creativity Works this year. Other people’s words and expressions continue to inspire and fascinate me.
Winning this competition hasn’t just encouraged me to continue writing. Like the pebble dropped into a pond its effects continue to ripple outwards.

Beverley's powerful sonnet sequence Breaking Through is available from the Poetry Space online Shop at just £2 with 50% of the proceeds going to Bath Mind. This tirtle has already raised over £200 for Bath Mind.

Through the powerful symbol of ice Beverley Ferguson’s sonnet sequence leads the reader on a journey from the moment life became frozen when “Land shuddered and stopped” to imperceptible sparks of awakenings as “lost words of ancestors release songs of light.” The poet reaches back into the past to break through into the present, creating a new song, a new story – her own.

Beverley Ferguson’s finely written sonnet sequence leads the reader as well as the narrator into fresh hope for the future. 

Dr. Geraldine Green, 14.2.2013

A longer pamphlet collection Flowers in the Blood will be published by Poetry Space later this year. It includes Beverley's award winning poem Illness  and many other moving poems.

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