Poetry, Life, Art on Broadstairs Pier

From 28th June to 5th July I'll be exhibiting artwork, poetry and fabric craft at The Old Lookout Gallery on Broadstairs from 10-4 each day. Courtesy of Christ Church University College who offers the space to artists, I welcome this opportunity to put together a showcase of the body of work I've been involved with over the years.

Before turning to writing as my main means of expression from 1990 onwards,  I was a visual artist, moving on from being a student in local adult education classes and exhibiting some of my drawings locally and at The Mall Gallery in London. Looking at them now, I wonder why I didn't become an illustrator, because that is what they leaned towards. But I had no confidence in myself then, and had other cultural issues to explore, through the love of words. Being concerned with learning how I as a Caribbean migrant, fitted into the UK landscape, led me to university as a mature student, and so began my life as a poet of which performance has always been a part.

A major part of my maturity has been developed in Broadstairs, where I lived from 1986 to 2006. As well as being educated and developing my career, I was a full-time mum, dog owner and walker on its many beaches with our lovely Sadie who unfortunately died two years ago in Wales. I've seen the town change, and was once treated to the attention of Meridian TV who followed me across Viking Bay with TV cameras, my then youngest daughter embarrassed and hoping her friends wouldn't see her! (This is now someone who has twice played the lead in Granville Theatre's panto!)I joined a contemporary dance group in Broadstairs, and momentarily indulged myself in a childhood fantasy of becoming a dancer. I learnt to swim at Upton School in Broadstairs, my children went to school there, and I've been an avid Broadstairs Folk Week groupie since 1986 and was once proud to be their Poet in Residence. The Write Women Poets was founded in Broadstairs, and in Broadstairs the idea for running a literature festival was born, and extended across Thanet between 2003 and 5. In Broadstairs some two years ago at the Sarah Thorne Theatre we, writers, performers raised £1000 for Haiti. Sometimes I wonder why I ever left, but that's life.

There will be a poetry reading at The Old Lookout Gallery, on Saturday, June 30th, at 6.30 pm, with readings from The Write Women Poets, Vicky Wilson, Mark Holihan and myself, with special guest David Woolley, former Literature Officer at The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea and now relocated to Exeter. There will also be a poetry workshop on Monday 2nd July, between 11 am and 12 noon. Free, donations welcome.