Spirograph by Pauline Sewards
When I think of a Spirograph I see interlocking and repeating patterns, distinctive colours overlapping, a pleasing symmetry. When I try and draw one I get into a mess, the ink smudges, the lines blur.
I started writing this collection a couple of years ago, although some of the poems are a bit older. For part of this time I was coediting Magma 74 the work edition and I think I was asked to do this because a lot of my poems are about work.I have been a drug and alcohol nurse for years; a job I love but the conditions, for all concerned, are frustrating. There are many stories to be told about this but I can only write from my own perspective and my main concern is to avoid appropriating other people’s experience, while wanting to give an account of something which is hardly written about from this angle. I also like writing about landscapes and hidden, mostly female, histories. This is the origin of the first three sections of the book. The last section is called wonder, which is open to interpretation. Everything is aspirational.
‘These are quietly wise and beautiful poems. They hold up mundane details of lives that might otherwise be forgotten to the light and make them shine. There are compelling accounts of working in a drugs unit and of the gently cruel toll taken by time. These poems capture and redeem lost things, from English pubs to women on a psychiatric ward and Bristol’s buzzing streets. Shimmering underneath all of them is a respect and care for invisible women- and a poet whose song is ringing out clear as a bell.’
Pauline Sewards is a Bristol based poet and founder of the regular event in Easton called 'Satellite of Love'. Her first collection This is the Band was published by Hearing Eye in 2018. In 2019 she co-edited Magma74 - The Work Edition. Recent publications include a poem featured in Messing Up the Paintwork - a tribute to Mark E Smith. published by Penguin Random House and a poem in Witches, Warriors and Workers an anthology of working class women's poetry published by Culture Matters.
‘Pauline writes about war on the home front, coping, helping others to cope. It’s a poetry that doesn’t try to cover up, or beautify neediness. For me, its simplicity and transparency allows me in. It’s poetry from a professional carer, but not one where the profession has overwhelmed the person. She is strong. She copes. She remains responsive. Her heart is intact.’
Jude Cowan Montague