Poetry and Me, Ted Morgan

20-logo-right-down It’s World Book Day and not only that, it’s the 20th one so it is a little more special than normal. Today the VCP blog is going to feature the work of its author’s, and felt it would be nice to learn a little more about one of our author’s, so we asked Ted if he would supply us a little history on how he started to write his poetry.

 

Poetry and Me, by Ted Morgan

My first recollections of hearing poetry was sitting on my elder sister’s knee at about the age of five and having the poem, The Elf and the Dormouse by Oliver Hereford read to me. It was from the Silver Book of Children’s Verse book 1 and that poem and many others from it have stayed with me all my life. The book disappeared from my home during my military service and I spent nearly 40 years looking for a copy of it until my late wife tracked one down with the help of a radio programme. It now has pride of place on my bookshelf.

Like all children I also had to both recite and read poetry as part of English lessons I do remember some which excited me but many others did not fire my imagination at all. Poetry was not top of the pops amongst the majority of my classmates.

I did find that I had a talent for writing funny doggerel this was appreciated by some of my fellow classmates, but not my teachers who were the butt of some of this verse, my posterior bore witness to this on a few occasions

Poetry took a back seat for many years through my military service and professional training as a general and psychiatric nurse. I would pick up the odd book of verse but did not write due to a host of other commitments.

I contracted Pulmonary Tuberculosis whilst nursing; this is classed as an industrial disease for nurses and involved a prolonged spell in hospital as a not so patient, patient!

It was during this time that my muse returned and I wrote a poem called Flowers which was published in my Wordsmiths Wanderings book,

The majority of the verse that I wrote in hospital has been consigned to the dustbin and the only person who ever saw it was me. I was a secret poet and remained so for the next twenty five years.

My interest in poetry was rekindled when I started reading the war poets of the first and second war, then going on to Kipling,   the great romantic poets and finally Lancashire dialect verse. 

I was singing and playing in a folk group then started to write song lyrics which were performed in public. This was when my secret was out and I came to be recognised as a poet and lyricist. I had a poem about the taking down of a local Power-stations chimneys printed in a church l magazine it was then that some members of my family and friends saw my work

I first recognised the importance of poetry as a therapeutic tool when I was doing a residential psychotherapy workshop. A psychologist gave an example of a girl who he was treating who was so upset when he moved to another hospital, with the consequent referral of her to another therapist that she articulated her sorrow in verse to him. I will always remember the first line of her poem “he has cut a shape in my air by his gentleness.”  Here we have the expression of her emotion in such a simple and beautiful way. I have used poetry with patients who found it hard to define their feelings, but writing how they feel in verse does seem to aid concentration and allows them to use metaphors and simile’s when talking about traumatic emotions and events.

I retired from nursing 23 years ago at the age of 55 and did lots of traveling Woodwork, Gardening, walking and all the physical things that one now had the time and energy to do.

I purchased a computer and that was the real start of my serious writing, I felt that I had to set down just how I felt about the world around me and the joy and enjoyment that I had got from my love of the countryside. Poetry was the answer.  My wife had many relatives in Canada and I became very close to a big hearted ex Toronto cop with a warped sense of humour. I suppose nurses and cops do see life in the raw, sad at times but also hilarious. My gift for comic doggerel was given lots of practice and I lampooned him unmercifully. My verse then drew in the rest of this large and extended family.

I think the turning point in my journey into writing was when my wife contracted breast cancer in 2000 the emotional shock was severe to both of us  and I had to support her through  her operation, radiotherapy and prolonged drug treatment. I used writing poetry as a help for me to express my innermost feelings so that I would not “bottle things up”. To see how you feel written on paper at a stressful period of your life is therapeutic, as some of my patients found many years before, I was now using the same treatment on myself and it helped. After 2 years my wife was pronounced free from cancer and life returned to normal.

 

Wordsmith's Wanderings by Ted Morgan.  ISBN9781910299043

Wordsmith’s Wanderings by Ted Morgan. ISBN9781910299043

IN 2010 my wife’s cancer returned and I became her full time carer My life changed and I spent long periods of time running the house looking after my wife and because I could not go out, writing my feelings down.

It was during this period I wrote my poem The Carer this has resonated with so many people in that position, it has been published in a MS magazine and it does describe just what you do.

I can remember sitting with my wife reading it to her for the first time with tears streaming down both our faces. All she said was “it’s so true but beautiful”

My writing became more prolific and I feel that through practice my use of words improved so much that I allowed my son’s to read my efforts.

In 2013 my wife passed away, She was in a hospice for the last week of her life I was a physical and emotional wreck, but I still wrote verse.

Some of my emotionally charged poems were written at this time and when they were eventually published in my book these poems have elicited the biggest response. Only last week I had a lady say I could not read all your book last night because the ones about your wife made me cry. I just said” then I have succeeded in what I set out to do”. If you can write verse that touches people deeply and gives them the emotional response which you felt when you wrote it, your own joy at this success is indeed a bonus.

I have had lots of conversations with my readers about many themes that I have written about; my works has provided a bridge of communication and allowed them to reveal how they feel about a multitude of both sad and humorous events. I think that if you write honestly and make yourself venerable though your verse, your readers recognise this and most react in a positive way.

 I have had my work published in a number of magazines and journals but my greatest pleasure was to hold my first published book in my hand. . My only regret was that my dear wife Pat never lived to see it.

MY Poetry Blog  edwardmorgan4@wordpress.com.

 captureperegrinations-cover

Teds has two poetry books in print: Both are available on Amazon or any online books retailer.

Wordsmiths Wanderings.

Peregrinations of the Wordsmith.

 

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Christmas In The Community

Brinnington Christmas MarketArticle supplied by Author Robin John Morgan.

Yesterday, Myself and the VCP team were invited to set up a stand at the Christmas Market at Brinnington, Stockport, Cheshire.

As with all the events that concern this small independent publishing company, it was a family affair, so with our children along bearing “Little Intern” badges, we all mucked in and by the opening time of 11am, we had our book sales stand, and our Jaded Opals stand built and laid out, not really sure as to what the events of the day would bring.

As part of the event, I had been invited to host a writer’s workshop, for any aspiring writers to come along and ask questions and get some positive feedback for their work. The event was scheduled to be held in the small library that adjoined the market square where the main stalls and activities of the day were being conducted. Part of the request that was made to myself by the Brinnington Events Team during our initial discussions over the writers workshop, was could I help advise some people on poetry also? Luckily for us we have a poet in our published author’s list, and so I invited Ted (Also my Father) to join me, which was actually pretty special as we have never really worked together in this kind of situation, so all in all I was looking forward to an interesting day.

Most importantly, the weather was very kind to us, yes it was a cold day, but it was dry, and in truth we have done outdoor events in colder, so for us with a little dancing behind the stall and a few hearty coffee’s, we began our day in high spirits, surrounded by the various stalls that provided food, gifts, raffles and face painting etc… it was not long before the square filled up with families, and the event swung into high gear to celebrate the communities Christmas, and I have say everyone was delightfully polite and treated us with a very warm welcome.

VCP Sales Table

 

I think the thing that struck me as I stood there behind the book stand, was what a wonderful community spirit everyone had, I think great credit should be given to the Brinnington Events Team, for what was a massive amount of effort on their part, in bringing together all the residents of the area. I have written often in the past of the way parts of our heritage has disappeared over the years and especially in the area of how our communities have become less important and isolated, so it was wonderful to see that there is indeed a small pocket where community still has a great relevance and importance.

The whole area was filled with laughter, and people talking and dancing whilst the children ran round enjoying themselves, it felt like a pleasure to see it. The community really got behind the event and gave it their all, and a lot of money was raised to ensure that more events like this one will continue in the future.

When it came to my time in the workshop, my father and myself headed in doors to the library and set up our tables, not really certain of the kind of response we would get, yet within minutes we had our first visitor with questions about poetry and also writing children’s stories. The young woman in question asked us both quite a lot, and we gave her some great advice and the option of talking to us whenever she needed to. She left feeling happy and showing a little relief that there was help at hand should she require it.

I have to confess when I was asked about this workshop, I was asked what age group I could cater to? My response was at the time, any writer of any age, but I still was surprised at the amount of children who came during our session to get a better insight into the writing process. The children were really enthusiastic and talked happily about the stories they write, one young ten year old girl in particular, who spoke with great passion and love of reading really caught both my father’s and my own attention. We hear so much today about how children have stopped reading, we have witnessed so many library closures across the country due to so called cuts, and yet here was a group of children all talking about the books they read, in a very beautifully laid out and well organised friendly atmosphere of their own library, I must admit as a writer and a publisher, I was delighted to see that my opposition to library closures over the past few years was indeed very well founded.

These children talked of how they came there once and sometimes multiple times a week, I have to say it was joy to my ears, as it reminded me very much of my youth where I almost camped in the library as a child. It gave me such a boost, not just as an avid supporter of the need for more libraries, but also as a simple writer myself. This community has a thriving spirit, and at its heart is great library offering so much to children, which is clearly demonstrated by the children who came to see us.

Mayor of Stockport, Chris Gordon talks to Robin and Ted of VCP

Mayor of Stockport, Chris Gordon talks to Robin and Ted of VCP

Once the session was over, and we returned to the stand I found several adults approached me with questions, and later during the day the Mayor of Stockport came round to support the event, and he stopped and chatted to both myself and my father for some time. I noticed his aide looked at little a frustrated as we talked, but as I mentioned my experiences in his local library that day, I found I was greeted with equal enthusiasm by him, as he too shares the very same views. It was wonderful to actually talk to a representative of the council and get my message across to understanding ears, and also have him speak with such passion about the importance of parents reading to their children and encouraging them to read more.

It was getting dark as we started to shiver, the Christmas tree was lit to great applause,  and we begin the long packing up after what had been a fun day in a great atmosphere. We came home cold and tired, well the grownups did, my children were still very much elated as they gathered their balloons, sweets and prizes they had won after a very exciting day for them, and VCP managed to make a profit and had successfully promoted their name and books to yet more people, so I consider it was a good day all around.

The Christmas Market was a wonderful family fun day out, even if we were working at the same time, and it is a credit to this small often unnoticed little community on the edge of Stockport. Well done to all of the organisers for doing something so many small communities fail to notice, simply put, you show everyone the importance of bringing all the community regardless of their status or creed together, and that really is a wonderful accomplishment. We had a fantastic day, and are thankful for your invite and hospitality, and I for one am looking forward to a return at some future point.

 

 

The Wordsmith and his Wanderings

Violet Circle Publishing has released its fifth book for this year, taking a break from HTTK and working on something a little different, for a very special person who has been a very big supporter of VCP from its first inception, to it’s final launch in January 2014, and none other than VCP author Robin J Morgan’s father. From our side of the fence it has been a very refreshing experience, as we have had to change the way in which we have approached the formatting, as verse takes on a whole new way of being laid out on the page, but we have added to our bank of skills during the process, and we feel it stands us well for working with other authors, but for now, lets focus on Ted and this new addition to our catalogue.

Wordsmith's Wanderings by Ted Morgan.  ISBN9781910299043

Wordsmith’s Wanderings by Ted Morgan. ISBN9781910299043

Last year, whilst being a full time carer to his wife, as she fought against cancer, which was an extraordinarily difficult time in his life, Ted Morgan, was advised by his son to try and use writing to express the many trapped emotions he had locked inside, as he coped with the knowledge that he could ultimately lose his wife to the illness.

Sadly, that became Ted’s reality towards the end of the year. With the aid of his son, as he did his best to nurse his wife and cope with the difficulties of each day, Ted returned to his old passion for writing verse, and set up his own blog on WordPress to share what many around him saw as deeply touching, and also very humorous at times poems.

For a time the writing was his only release, as he was stuck in the house, unable to leave for very long as his wife needed constant care, and in those few quiet reflective moments, he tapped into something that was profound, beautiful and deeply touching. Reluctant to share his many offerings at first, he was slowly convinced that he had something of great value trapped within the lines he wrote, and eventually he began to share them.

In the last twelve months he has gained a reputation for what is a wide spectrum of work, based on his busy 76 years of life, which has seen National Service in the Air Force, followed by a life working as a General and Psychiatric Nurse mainly in Bolton, and also includes a long stretch of 19 years with Bolton Mountain rescue and a few Marathons. He has seen a great deal of the good and bad in all things, and drawn on it for inspiration.

The result is a collection of verse, which holds a great deal of nostalgia, modern wisdom, and can make you smile and laugh out loud, and also as has been the case, reduce people to tears. The last twelve months, since the loss of his wife, has seen his poems gain recognition by many, to a point where he was commissioned by the Bolton MS group to write something for them, and has been invited to run “Poetry Corner” for the Breightment Carers Group, where he has helped to teach the members to read and write their own poetry. He has been a regular feature to the Four Knots monthly Canal Cruising Newsletter, and is also a member of Westhoughton Poetry Group, where he has also become their Blogger sharing the work of all the members on their own blog.

On November 1st this year, we are delighted to say that Ted became a fully published Poet, with the publication of 53 of his many poems in his own book of verse, aptly entitled “Wordsmith’s Wanderings.” For VCP this is a little bit of a departure from our core genre’s of Sci fi and fantasy, but Ted is a special person in the life of VCP and so we made an exception and we have worked very hard to ensure that this small addition to our catalogue, was produced and published in time to commemorate the anniversary of the death of his loving wife, to whom the book has been dedicated.

The small book of verse reflects the joy and deep emotions of the bond they shared through life. With a cover that features a picture of a wild pasture filled with Poppies, it certainly is a very fitting tribute to the person she was, and also the act of remembrance.

The wide range of verse takes into account Ted’s early life as a child, his love of the wild, and some very amusing tales of fictional characters. There is a selection of poems that reflect his struggles throughout his wife’s illness, which are very profound and deeply caring, and have already served to help others going through a similar situation. This small book of verse makes for a delightful companion, which should be within arms reach throughout the many twists and turns in life.

Ted Morgan with his new book Wordsmith's Wanderings, published November 1st 2014 by Violet Circle Publishing, Manchester UK.

Ted Morgan with his new book Wordsmith’s Wanderings, published November 1st 2014 by Violet Circle Publishing, Manchester UK.

Wordsmith’s Wanderings.

Ted Morgan.

ISBN: 978-1-910299-04-3

Published by Violet Circle Publishing.

November 1st 2014

Available from all online sources, or to order via your local bookstore now.

Ted features on two blogs: His own personal blog and the Westhoughton Poetry blog, both of which can be accessed via links on his author page on our web site http://www.violetcirclepublishing.co.uk