By Lelia Ferro.
Recently I have been trying to do some of the things that I would never normally do. A couple of weeks ago I stood on a small stage before the mic and read my poem The Last House at Poetry Wivenhoe. I had wanted to attend for over 10 years but I was too terrified. Everyone clapped when I finished and people were lovely and encouraging afterwards. It was a fantastic boost.
Last week I launched a poetry and art project called Married to the Marshes which I hope will feed my dissertation and later perhaps a PhD. I would never usually dare to call myself an artist. To me that word seems far away and belongs to someone far more confident and eminent. But a local writer who has recently published something quite beautiful suggested to me that perhaps I should just do it, and so here I am going for it!
Married to the Marshes is a poetry and art project focused on celebrating hidden female voices in Essex and Suffolk both real and imagined, with a view to publishing a poetry anthology in late 2017. I will be learning as I go, but I am hoping to build a body of work through interviews, research, local literature, and collaborations with other poets and artists. I am drawing on the literary techniques of Psychogeography and Memory Mapping which I am learning about this term on MA Creative Writing.
The inspiration behind the project is one of my favourite songs ‘Mrs Bartolozzi’ by Kate Bush from the album Aerial. She depicts a washing machine and a clothesline in the most poetic way. These ordinary objects which are so often overlooked, represent tenderness and home. I am also a big fan of Alice Oswald’s Dart. I love the way that she uses her interviews with the people living and working on the River Dart to knit together a tapestry of voices symbolising the chatter of the water itself. People and place are one, and the stories of many are represented.
Married to the Marshes is also about celebrating local life and the beauty of the every day, particularly in the lives of women.
So, whatever you are sitting on right now – an idea, a course you would like to try, a place you would like to visit, whatever you wished you could do but have been too scared to try: My advice to you is just do it. I am the world’s biggest scaredy cat and if I can then so can you.