It gives me great pleasure today to welcome a fellow poet (and a fellow hoglet from The Hedgehog Poetry Press) to Patricia’s Pen. Margaret has come along to talk about her writing so without further ado it’s over to you, Margaret.
My name is Margaret Jean Royall and I have been writing poetry since the age of three. My long-suffering parents would be called to my bedroom in what seemed to me like the middle of the night and scribble down verses I had created in my head. That was the start of what has gone on to be a life in poetry.
I returned to writing in earnest during retirement. The breakthrough moment for me was going for the first time to the Inner Hebridean Isle of Iona on an annual writing retreat led by Angela Locke MA and technical writing tutor David William Clemson. This mystical, magical island unleashed a flame within me and as I returned there annually I realised my ambition was to become a published poet. In the first few years I was simply a hobby poet, but encouraged and inspired by Angela and the other course participants, who had over the years become cherished friends, I honed my writing skills and began to submit my work to literary journals and webzines. To my amazement I was shortlisted for two poetry prizes in 2018, which hardened my resolve to carry on and achieve my goals.
My first poetry collection ‘Fording The Stream’, written under my then pen name Jessica De Guyat was published on my behalf by an American contact on Amazon. My words were out in the world! I was delighted by the complimentary reviews that were written.
My next publication was a memoir of childhood in prose and verse, ‘The Road To Cleethorpes Pier,’published by Crumps Barn Studio, a specialist in memoir publication.This book came about almost by accident, following a surprise encounter at a book festival with a poet from my home town whom I had known in childhood.
Some of his poems were about the town Cleethorpes and I realised that although I had written copious poems about people there, I had not written about the place itself. I worked to combine my prose articles with poetry about the seaside resort and people close to me, presented loosely in the form of a Haibun, illustrated with 46 black and white photographs from childhood and adolescence. The memoir was published 20th May this year to great acclaim and has sold well.
My next publication will be a second full poetry collection, ‘Where Flora Sings,’ to be published in 2021 by The Hedgehog Poetry Press. This follows my win in Hedgehog’s ‘Full Fat Poetry Collection’ competition. It is a dream come true and I can’t wait to see it in print. The overriding theme is floral, yet it is definitely not simply an anthem to the beauty of flowers but rather something which penetrates much deeper. The first section is called Flower Power/People Power and as well as short poems about floral beauty through the seasons it takes a look at how people can be linked to flowers and plants. The second section ‘Roses and Thorns’ is a retrospective from the third age on the triumphs and tribulations of life. I shall be so excited to hold a copy in my hands and hope it will meet with approval.
Thank you for sharing your writing story, Margaret. Good luck with the new collection from Hedgehog Poetry Press. I look forward to receiving my copy.
About Margaret Jean Royall
Margaret’s work has featured in publications by The Hedgehog Poetry Press, Impspired and The Blue Nib. She recently won Hedgehog Press’ collection competition. In May 2020 her childhood memoir The Road To Cleethorpes Pier was published, receiving great acclaim. She was shortlisted in 2018 for the Crowvus and Bangor Lit Festival Poetry Prizes.
Margaret is a regular performer at Writers Live and leads a poetry group in Nottinghamshire.
Her forthcoming poetry collection ‘Where Flora Sings’ will appear in 2021 with The Hedgehog Poetry Press.
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