Biography

Esther
Morgan






Beyond Calling Distance
Silence Living in Houses
Home
News
Biography
Silence Living in Houses
Beyond Calling Distance
Events
New Poems
Journey of a Poem
Reactions
Ordering Books
Beat the Blank Page
Links
Contact Me


Early Life

I was born in the West Midlands' town of Kidderminster in 1970. I always loved poetry at school and when I was little enjoyed writing my own. Then there was a long break as I became more of a student of literature - I began to believe that people who wrote poetry were divinely inspired and that the poems I loved had been written just as they appeared on the printed page, in their final perfect form. Studying English Literature at university didn't do anything to dispel this notion, and it was only when I left that I picked up a pen again. My first attempts, nothing more than playing with words, took place behind the counter of a pharmacy where I worked as a Christmas temp. I remember early doodlings being interrupted for requests for Calpol and TCP!


[top]

What got me writing

In 1992 I arrived as a volunteer at The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, Cumbria. The Trust owns Dove Cottage, Wordsworth's house where he wrote his most famous poems, including Daffodils , and runs the Wordsworth Museum which houses an extensive collection of manuscripts and artefacts. It was whilst I was in the Lake District that I began to write on a regular basis. This was partly due to the fact that there isn't much to do in Grasmere, especially in winter - beyond the pleasures of Theakston's Old Peculiar, (a nonetheless considerable pleasure), one has to make one's own entertainment. Another important factor was my daily exposure to Wordsworth's manuscripts and journals in the museum - for the first time I began to understand that writing is a process in which the initial inspiration is worked on and developed, that even a poet as great as Wordsworth didn't always get it right first time. This new awareness of drafting coincided with the presence at the Trust of their first poet-in-residence, Gerard Benson, who set up a weekly writers' group. This was an important step which helped me hone my critical judgement as I started to share work with others and listen to their advice. I also learnt the value of writing exercises and how a seemingly artificial starting point, (write a poem beginning with this line, describe one object in the room, use three random words from the dictionary), can stimulate the imagination and take it in unexpected directions.


[top]

What Kept Me Writing

After leaving the Trust I worked full-time at Cheltenham Arts Festivals Ltd., but whilst I enjoyed the work I found there wasn't enough time to write poetry. This realisation led me to apply to the University of East Anglia for a place on their renowned Creative Writing MA which for the first time offered a poetry strand under the leadership of Andrew Motion. The combination of time to write and constant appraisal of my work helped me complete a set of poems which formed the basis of my first collection. Since then I've struggled as most writers do to balance the demands of earning a living with the the space and time to write. A move to Oxfordshire to become, along with my partner, caretakers of a large Edwardian house in the countryside has proved a real gift. The house, which has never been renovated, has a strong sense of the past. It's provided a setting for themes and ideas I've always been interested in - family and ancestry, the domestic space, the secrets of hidden lives. To read more about this period in my life go to the page on The Silence Living in Houses. I've just completed work on a third collection which I hope will be published next year. It's taken a while to shape but themes around our desire for revelation and the difficulties of learning to watch and wait have emerged. You can get a taste in the new poems section. I suppose these themes partly touch on the act of writing itself - which I've always felt is as much about faith as it is inspiration and hard work.


[top]

Publications and Awards

The embryonic version of Beyond Calling Distance produced at UEA was given an Eric Gregory Award in 1998, and a further grant from Eastern Arts enabled me to finish it. It was finally accepted by Bloodaxe Books and published in 2001. Since then it has been awarded the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival First Collection Prize, shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, and nominated in East England Arts 'Six of the Best' Awards in the New Talent category. My second collection has had a good critical reception (read more here) and has led to further opportunities including being The Guardian on-line poet for a month, and an invitation to become an Arvon tutor for the first time. A recent poem, 'Garbo Among Us', was awarded third prize in the 2010 Mslexia poetry competition and another, 'Short-hold' was shortlisted. You can read both on the Mslexia site.


[top]

Why I Write

As to the why I write, I try not to think about this too much as it can undermine the writing process itself. However, I can describe the feeling I get when working on a poem I know is going somewhere. I imagine that most children have a den at some point in their lives: whether it's in a bedroom, or at the bottom of the garden, or in a nearby wood or disused shed, it's the place where you go to be alone, to dream, or read, or comfort yourself. It is private territory, a space which allows you to have your own thoughts. Writing a poem to me is like making a den out of words: I have a sense of secret imaginative shelter, somewhere that I can possess for myself and tell the truth about the world as I experience it.

To see a man has no taste, do not look breitling replica at his appearance, do not look at his height, do not look at his wallet, do not look at his education, as long as the look at his hand, the neck On line, the waist circumference of the three points have a feeling. And the price of fake rolex the most is the hand wearing.To know that men wear in addition to the simple wedding ring, the only decoration is a watch. The most annoying is the man with gold jewelry, and then again, and againAs long as the knowledge man wearing a yellow boss type in the neck of swiss rolex the thick finger necklace, wearing a glistening yellow ring, his image will be greatly reduced, become vulgar. But the watch is an exception, the gold watch no matter how to say than the same style of gold bracelet have grade. Visible, watches such things The man is a miraculous magic attunement.

[top]






Contact Me