At the beginning of the pandemic, I spoke to my GP about being ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ and intensive care treatment, and he told me that I was “stuck between a rock and a hard place”, that the factors that made me extremely vulnerable would also make me low priority for intensive care treatment. I was devastated, but out of that, came Shield – my first poetry pamphlet, published by Verve Press.
It was important to me that I create something that highlighted, demonstrated the value that disabled people have, that we’re not just vulnerable, or disposable, that we’re a part of the world – and everyone’s interconnected.
This emerged through a series of 21 sonnets – some in my voice, and some in the voices of other people, linking together what it means to be an interconnected humanity at this time. Writing those sonnets saved me for the fear and devastation that crept in, and now they exist, published, in the world.
On the 23rd Jan, I will be doing a launch event for the book – with a reading, and an ‘in conversation’ with the author CN Lester, thinking about what it means to be an outsider voice, and the importance of bearing witness. Tickets can be booked for free via Eventbrite (where you can also add charity donations and book purchases), and there’s a facebook event.
I’d love to see as many people as possible – and I really hope that the book speaks to everyone’s experience at this time.