Harry Ricketts came to share his poetry on Warwick campus today. I am nine months into the PhD and enjoying taking the opportunity to hear creatives speak. It’s not all just sociology and science lectures! Though, I love popping into different departments for guest speakers.

The poet

Harry Ricketts is best known for his biography Strange Meetings on WW1 soldiers who wrote poetry. Fascinated by their creations as they recovered from the traumatic events they had witnessed.

Poet and biography Harry Ricketts was at Warwick University on Tuesday 27th December to talk about his new book Strange Meetings. As he talked about the process of writing the book I was struck by how much fiction and nonfiction intertwine in their techniques and challenges. Writing involves thinking about perspective. And there are many angles this could take. Framing a book with real meetings between a select number of war poets is an intriguing idea and the book reads very well.

Harry Ricketts’ talk

The highpoint for me was hearing the poem Quarantine Island. A strange choice perhaps, but the following words reminded me of this strange process called a PhD.

‘There will be days of sudden calm,
nights when stars burn into your head.
World turns strange and yet the same.’

It was fascinating to have a chat with him afterwards about the process of writing as I hope to use poetry in some form in my creative piece. Folktales often have rhymes and lines of poetry within them, and I’d like to experiment with this in modern fairy tales.

Emma’s creative writing

Here’s a little sample of some of my writing in A Friendship of Thistles.

‘Hector!’ Heather flings her sleeves wide open – the Scottish-wide ban on household visits be damned – a piece of her heart has returned to her. Small flecks of rain speckle Hector’s glasses and raincoat, though not enough to dampen her woollen dress. ‘Where’s Fran?’

Hector’s shoulders stiffen. ‘Fran threw me out.’

Buy it here!

Emma Parfitt

Proofreader for business and academic documents, translations, and English writing.


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