Photo © Beth Cutting
Vicky Arthurs is a British poet who writes about nature and the people and places she loves. Her first poetry collection Limehaven: Poems for my grandparents (Cedarbird, 2017) was first published in the UK by IRON Press. The book explores themes of love, war, nature and childhood.
Vicky’s poetry has also featured in the Northern Poetry Library’s digital artwork Poem of the North and in print anthologies such as The IRON Book of Tree Poetry and Pieces from Eight (IRON Press).
Vicky has recorded Limehaven: Poems for my grandparents as an audiobook and enjoys performing her poetry live. Her festival appearances include Books on Tyne, Eclectic IRON Literary Festival, and THE IRON AGE Festival. She has also performed at Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts, Trinity Laban Conservatoire, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens and other arts venues. (For details, click here.)
Vicky also works as an editor and workshop facilitator. She began her career in television and later worked in training and publishing. She ran her own business in the personal development sector for ten years and loves helping people unlock their creative talents.
Q&A with Vicky
What is your favourite book?
Tough question! You can read about five of my favourites in this feature I wrote for the Journal’s Culture magazine.
Do you consider yourself to be a writer or a poet?
Both. I enjoy writing poetry, but also write articles and reviews, and work professionally as an editor. For me, writing is communicating. I write as simply and directly as I can and enjoy experimenting with different forms.
You talk about simple, direct writing, but isn’t poetry a bit obscure?
I believe passionately that poetry is for everyone. It shouldn’t be a rarefied form, appreciated by an elite few. Poetry is our birthright. We’re hardwired to enjoy rhythm and rhyme – from nursery rhymes to rock anthems.
Why did you write Limehaven: Poems for my grandparents?
I wanted to write something as an act of love. Many of my happiest childhood memories involved my grandparents, so I wrote about them. Their bungalow, which gave its name to the book, was set in a beautiful garden. I had fun revisiting it in my imagination and it gave the book a strong sense of place. I never meant to write a poetry collection. Poems just became the most natural way to convey the impressions that arose.
How did the book come together?
I wrote about the memories and myths that held the most significance for me. Then I played about with sequencing the poems until they fell into place. Being an editor, I enjoy that part of the process. It’s a bit like doing a puzzle.
What’s the best thing about being a published author?
Meeting readers at festivals, events and writers’ groups. A book isn’t finished until it comes alive in the mind of a reader. It’s lovely to hear that your work has touched someone or connected with their personal experience in some way.
Poetry is meant to be read out loud too, and I enjoy performing my own work.
Did you train as a performer?
No. I trained as a teacher of the Alexander Technique. I worked with actors, musicians and performing arts students, providing lessons and workshops for organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Sage Gateshead, Northern Stage, Live Academy, Actors Centre North East, Association of Teachers of Singing, Making Music, Newcastle University, Northumbria University and the University of Leeds.
I learned a lot from my work with performing artists and I draw on that experience when I’m reading to an audience.
Do you have any tips for writers?
Know what you care about and write from there. Edit your work with compassion. Celebrate the best bits and discard the rest. And keep writing!