Sue Leigh Poetry
Sue Leigh is a poet and writer who lives and works in the valley of the River Windrush in Oxfordshire. Walking, note-taking and keeping a daily journal are essential parts of her writing practice.
The role of reticence and brevity in poetry was the subject of her Ph.D. at Aberystwyth University, and she currently teaches part-time at Rewley House, Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education.
“I don’t know how poems happen. I love the mystery that surrounds their making. I learn continually about patience and listening, they seem to be at the heart of it.
There are fallow periods which are as important as writing itself. It has taken
me a while to understand this.
And there is solitude, this is necessary. Interruption would break the line of thought, craft, feeling – it would be like waking the dreamer from the dream.
I am fortunate to live in a quiet place surrounded by fields. I feel silence all around me – broken at certain times of the year by the singing of birds.
I spend much time walking. This is often where poems begin. (It has something to do with rhythm, I think.) Outside, there is a sense of lightness, the mind quietens, you can listen. You look at the sky, you inhabit weather. You move through the living world – a world of plants, creatures. You feel part of it.
I write in a notebook every day. I started this practice some years ago and I can’t imagine ever not doing this. Sometimes the notes may be the beginnings of a poem.
I find myself trying, trying again to lay hold of experience, to catch something of that original brightness. but in the dance with language something new emerges and it often catches me unawares. A poem becomes and act of discovery, a small research project into one’s relationship with the world.
I was thinking the other day about why poetry matters and it seems to me that in these times we are more in need of poetry than ever. Poetry connects us with our deepest selves but it also connects us with each other. Rather like looking at a painting, reading a poem may enable us to see the world through someone else’s eyes. We understand a little more about our humanity. And that must be a good thing.”