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Locally Born Poet Cites Former Mayor Of Guildford As Her Inspiration

Published on: 30 Nov, 2015
Updated on: 26 Nov, 2015

By Marie Coakley

Locally born poet, Rosie Shepperd, is launching her debut book of poems The Man At The Corner Table at Waterstone’s, High Street, Guildford on Monday, December 7, at 6.30pm.

The poems take us through countries, foods and relationships in a subtle but surprisingly direct style.

The event is free and includes wine, canapés and a talk from Rosie about her poetry. Donations to Guildford’s Number Five Project will be welcomed on the night.

And what a pleasant evening I had when I met Rosie at the Holiday Inn in Guildford. I was there to interview her about her new book. I came away impressed and enthused by her dedication to her art and the philosophy behind what drives her.

Debut book of poems by Rosie Shepperd ‘The Man At The Corner Table’. The front cover was designed by Guildford based artist, Helen Baines.

Debut book of poems by Rosie Shepperd The Man At The Corner Table. The front cover was designed by Guildford-based artist, Helen Baines.

When asked who had inspired her, Rosie went back to her schooldays at St Peter’s School in Merrow, to the late Sallie Thornberry. Sally was head of English and later a mayor of Guildford.

Rosie said: “Sally demanded a high standard from all her pupils, she believed that girls can do anything and said – ‘why should I take you seriously unless you give me 100%?’”

She has also been inspired by Liane Strausse, an American poet, head of creative writing at Birkbeck College where Rosie studied. Rosie quoted Liane’s advice: “Work hard. You have a lot of work to do.”

So, there is a theme for hard work here and this continues into her process for writing which is very intensive. She said that she constantly watches and listens to herself, to what she writes. She will write and re-write until the words are true for her. Rosie recalled that she has never worked so hard as when she was trying to find her style.

On first reading Rosie’s poetry, I struggled to appreciate it…..but after watching Juliet Stevenson reading A Seedy Narrative on YouTube (click here to view), I was gripped.

Rosie Shepperd reads from 'The Man At The Corner Table'

Rosie Shepperd reads from The Man At The Corner Table, at the Holday Inn.

I felt brave enough to read out loud from her book myself. I’m no Shakespearean actor but the physical act of reading out loud brought feeling and sense to the poems. The way the poems are laid out in the book is also important. The space on the page, I interpreted as punctuation.

Rosie’s poetry needs to be read out loud and performed and I quite enjoyed myself!

Rosie was very clear about the aims she has for her poetry. She does not want to manipulate her readers but for them to take from her poems whatever they can. She said that her measure of a good poem was that a reader would look at something in their lives in a different way.

A highly recommended read.

You can learn more about Rosie Shepperd from her website (click here).

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Responses to Locally Born Poet Cites Former Mayor Of Guildford As Her Inspiration

  1. Pauline Surrey Reply

    December 1, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Thank you, Marie, for a refreshingly different kind af article, how nice to read about poetry for a change! I shall take a look at the book.

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