Post People: Barking poet goes from page to stage
PUBLISHED: 13:00 07 November 2016
Scottish writer Anne Macauley, 60, tells Sebastian Murphy-Bates how she brought her love of English to the borough and became a published poet
“I’ve always liked poetry – my mother wrote poems and I used to teach English so I’ve always been a lover of language.
“I arrived in Barking in 1977. I’d come to see some friends and while I was here I met my future husband, Richard, who was born and bred here. It was a holiday match that lasted a lifetime.
“My first teaching job was at Eastbury Community School, which my children attended. It was very nice and friendly and when I was there in 1990 it was a lot less diverse.
“Young people all face challenges in different ways, you have to treat them as individuals and not lump them into categories. I still occasionally bump into my old pupils in the borough and it’s usually a nice experience.
“When I retired three years ago I started doing open mic nights. Since then I’ve had my work published in several anthologies, including by the Poetry Society.
“I really like a lot of war poetry, especially Wilfred Owen but since I’ve been doing open mic nights and attending poetry classes I’ve discovered a lot of modern poets such as Helen Mort and John Cooper Clarke.
“A couple of years ago I saw him [Cooper Clarke] at the Poetry Society. I hadn’t seen him live for years and he hasn’t lost it, his sharpness and sense of rhythm really drives his poems forward.
“I’ve started to appreciate spoken word poetry a lot more, though I mainly stick to writing. It’s a very popular way of getting young people into poetry because it’s similar to rap and encourages self-expression.
“I helped host a poetry night for young people at Studio 3 Arts in Barking last month. It’s always amazing to see young people reading poetry and it was lovely to hear it from local guys.
“We’re trying to make it a regular thing, which I think would be great for Barking. I’m also a contributor at the Boathouse and I think we, along with Studio 3 Arts, are moving the arts on in the borough.”