Elizabeth Lang

I usually wake up early, so it was normal to do so today. As usual, picked up my phone and switched it on. I saw her face and smiled instinctively. Was wondering if the part 4 of her book was out then I saw the lines by my publisher and blinked. Wondering if maybe I was not fully awake, I went to the loo with the phone, my heartbeats increased as I read. My heart dropped and sadness engulfed me.
Vale Grace Chan
by Gerry Huntman

‘One of the profound things I find about our time on this planet is the amazing human capacity to withstand trauma and disease and hold on to their lives, and yet there are many others who pass away too early, often suddenly. There’s nothing mysterious about it, but it can help us refocus on how important it is to make the most of the time we have.
It is with immense sadness that I announce the passing of Grace Chan (Elizabeth Lang) today (27th February 2020) in Regina, Saskatchewan, from complications associated with her very long battle with cancer’.
How do you sing a song when the beat has left the market square and the masquerade does a silent dance? The square is silent and the owl too refuses to leave the tree. There is silence all around and a silent whistle in my spirit.
Elizabeth Lang, author, artist friend walks towards home to the ancients. Names run pictures in my sad mind. I remember our first chat when we talked about the cover picture of my first book with IFWG publishing. Gerry Huntman the publisher had informed me and permitted that I could discuss my ideas with her. I was not sure but soon enough I became a friend of someone I never met physically. A friendship was formed and we would chat whenever we had a chance about my book, her book and so many things that held our interest. I read and reviewed for my blog all her books, that is the Andromedan series. The human concept that underlined her sci-fi, her surprise about the success of the romance in the series as she had not expected such a reaction.
Love conquers pain, the pain of cancer. In my corner of the, we say, Death always needs a reason to take you away. It was time for her to take the next journey and as far as Creationis truly concerned, we should not say death is premature. Whatsoever we sow, we reap, and this is not meant as sanctimonious religious nonsense, but an acceptance that Creation is not arbitrary. I miss the Andromeda series already. I can guess at the conclusion that was supposed to come in part four.
I see the compassion, love and empathy of Elizabeth in the covers she did for my books and my gratitude I hope will be one of the light silks on her path in her journeys as a human spirit.
I could say a thousand things, sing a song at the square and tell the owl to flap more silently.
I can ask the stars to shine more brightly and tell the ancients that a daughter is on her way home. I can feel in the whispers of the dry dust, its own sadness at her departure. I see the sad face of death as it shrugs at me helplessly and points at Cancer as the culprit, I see the smile of Elizabeth at the light in the tunnel that is the gate of Andromeda as she passes.
The story continues but we at IFWG publishing close the page and open it again missing you.


I really had planned to write another post on something else altogether. I came across this information and it became necessary for me to write this post. A man was born 142 years ago today. On the 22nd of February
I was part of his dreams and we never met. I celebrate him today and beyond today. Over a century ago when he landed on terra firma, he probable know of all his dreams. He also probably didn’t know much about communication skills, or teaching anyone how to be a leader.
He had a dream to be a human being I assume, but along his experiences, he saw the essence of communication. Communicating in real terms and negotiating our values about those things that make us human, empathic, and I guess evolving into what the Creator trusted we will become…human beings.
142 years ago one of my heroes was born. Ralph C Smedley
Nearly a century ago, Dr Ralph Smedley had a vision of how he could help you and millions more learn communication and leadership skills in a positive and supportive environment. Toastmasters International became an educational Non- governmental organization which now has branches all over the globe including my state and my club as the premier club in the south-west of my country
In 1965, the Ralph C. Smedley Memorial Fund® (“Smedley Fund”) was established to honour and uphold that legacy, and to open doors for the many millions of potential Toastmasters yet to come.
The dream has grown, and anyone interested in learning about communication skills, leadership skills can achieve that mastery in any Toastmaster club anywhere in the world.
I am inviting you to be part of this dream. We communicate and achieve leadership awareness as we learn what serving, giving and loving is about. We learn what it means to volunteer knowledge, capabilities, to our community and the world at large.
I am inviting you to be a contributor to the Smedley Fund.
The educational needs of individuals have evolved and multiplied. Though the historic fund had humble beginnings with a local impact, the reinvigorated Smedley Fund retains its same purpose—the advancement of communication and leadership education through the research, development, and distribution of educational programs and materials.
Be a contributor
Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs.
Sunshine Toastmasters club is situated in Akure. We hold meetings twice a month, the 2nd and 4th Sunday at B.Dot schools from 4-6pm.
I promise you will enjoy your time with us
I will be expecting you.

The Finishing school

When I was in a secondary school in the sixties. Yeah, I said secondary school. Yeah, I am long in years and no I still have all my teeth. My family could not afford the luxury of chocolates. Will you let me say my piece?
As I started to say, when I was in secondary school, I used to read about rich families sending their children to finishing schools. Rich families in the fifties, and sixties then. The girls were sent to finishing schools, the boys generally went on a tour of the world to learn about other cultures. More often than not, they were sent to Rome as the girls were sent to Switzerland.
Some of the lessons for the girls was refined speech, ability to listen attentively at polite gatherings. You also learned the art of socializing in a refined, delicate way, walk straight with books on your head.
There no refined schools in my neck of the woods, then more than sixty years ago nor at the present moment. In my world, getting a certificate was the first and for most of us the only consideration. So we rarely read for pleasure. But there was Enid Blyton’s adventure stories, the Famous five and as we got older Mills and Boon.
If like me you were a girl from a poor family, getting educated was a really a big miracle. So you will wonder what will a poor girl like me in the sixties be thinking about a finishing school or knowing anything about it? Reading was not banned, and I happened to love reading, read all the James Hadley Chase available, Ian Fleming and quite a lot you will be shocked to learn. I still do. So, I read about young persons like me who lived across the pond. Read about their language. Read so much about their lifestyles and the art of good speech.
That is where I am going really, the art of good speech which comes from being a good communicator. The finishing school of people like my hero Barack Obama.
The finishing school of Maya Angelou, my ultimate poet, the school by Mahatma Gandhi, powerful communicators who could infect us with the power of their speech, and impacted our lives.
I had a quiet boss when I became a broadcaster. He was quiet in his mien and demeanour until he needed to pass a message either in the studio or through any of his programmes…Conversations with Bisi Lawrence.
Did these role models of mine go to finishing schools? I doubt if they did, but they had a gift they used very effectively. They were good communicators and for me, they had leadership skills. It was thus natural when I became a Toastmaster that I should see them as Toastmasters too. A Toastmaster is a good communicator and an active listener.
I am a Toastmaster, and now in my own finishing school. I do not need to go abroad, but Toastmasters International is available to me. I can learn at my own pace and at a very affordable price too. I learned how to listen, not just hear people speak, but also to learn active listening.
What do I learn? Quite a lot I am discovering in the Pathways they make available.
Toastmasters International is an educational NGO that teaches communicating and leadership skills in an environment of love, polite and friendly evaluation.
I see it as a personal finishing school for anyone who thinks life will be richer and easier if he has good communicating skills. When you have good communicating skills you carry the possibility of being a good leader, a thought leader. It does not matter your profession in life, you need to be able to communicate..
The beauty of this finishing school is the ability to go at your own pace to acquire the skills you need on your own terms.


Sometimes, you hear the song of the Earth,
the whisper of the sun in her loving caress of your hopes
the sighing mountain and the giggle of the ocean between the roars..
The day opens her eyes
you feel your dreams shape
her forms into hopes
like soft silk down the spine
a prayer escapes your spirit.
Caress the stars,
your hopes enwrapped
like a love-struck maid
shapes the morrow and horizon
bless the day with love seeds
tomorrow’s fruit quickens
fruits of happy harvest..

Dreams flow rich,
from the running brook,
man stands to watch,
the colouring book,
of His grace.
My soul longs to feel on me, the grace,
I sigh and lay in the soft grass of home.
The bells through the flashing lights
tell me that harvests are almost done.
Will Father find enough for the treasure?
I hope for you that
the harvest though not very pure
will ring the bells.

The sun can be persuaded
to have roses in the desert.
The dew at dawn is as
soft as the outer reaches of the sun.
the hand that holds the Sword is loving and firm.

The scalpel of the surgeon is sharp
to remove the errant tissue.
It is mercy.
The eagle lives on the crag
as the dove descends
and the sea breaks out on victory song.
The unicorn sniffs the golden air
for the sun is out again.


She is young, full of life and has a right to her dreams. So you will assume., like all young persons, that she could plan for her own version of paradise. She worked hard enough and she had a right to fall in love. We all dreamed that the living happily ever after was a right and an expected entry into your own paradise.
This paradise is however stolen, by bigotry, prejudice, deceit, betrayals of the deepest and most painful….Love.
There is a painful exception to this dream, for no fault of yours, you are physically challenged. It was not from a hereditary malfunctioning of a chromosome or a set of organs, but for the sheer ignorance and stupidity of medical personnel. In my country, challenged persons will tell you this story endlessly. That was why immunisations, vaccines tended to have such impacts in our society.
However, I am not writing about such things today but about the humanity of a society who should also be given a vaccine for the ignorance with which we treat challenged members of the society.
For some of the challenged members, they have rejected the option of being beggars, have chosen to be educated, get a job and try to be a success in their chosen fields. Unfortunately, the members of the society we live in are more handicapped by tradition, ignorance, and sheer paucity of human compassion and understanding.
I have read Stolen Paradise, I am numb from all the unnecessary pain and heartache this young vibrant lady has been subjected to. She had the options, to be dependent on a loving supportive family, but she chose to walk on her own.
Stolen Paradise is a story of the incompetence’s of our society to see beyond a physical challenge and admire a hard-working, strong female mind.
Stolen Paradise is about perseverance, faith, and a creative compassionate soul faced with the bigotry of a prospective mother in law turning down a love affair between her son and a physically challenged writer, poet, presenter, and songstress.

Permit me to introduce, to Centerspread our guest Ms Folajogun Akinlami

1. Please introduce yourself to us

*Am Folajogun Akinlami, a Radio and Television Presenter, CEO Differently Abled Foundation, and Vice President Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Association Nigeria.

2. When did you first sense that you were going to face the challenges of being different?

* When I was in Part 1

3. Did you ever discuss your physical disability with your mum or siblings in a personal way in respect to how you might handle romantic relationships?

* No way, am supposed to be studying hard or having boyfriends

4. Why were you attracted to the media?

* My father was an ace broadcaster before he died. He died when I was seven years old and I didn’t get to know him that much. But people who knew him would not stop singing his praise anytime they see us. I guess I just didn’t want the name to die, and I wanted became curious about his profession.

5. You wrote a beautiful song and it became your soundtrack for your first film, share your thoughts

* Ariwo Oja is about not paying attention to people who castigate you or berate you because of your disability. Ignore them and focus on the journey ahead. It’s a romantic song that fully expressed how I felt at the time.

6. Why did you write ‘Stolen Paradise’?

* I wrote Stolen Paradise to unburden myself of some deeply seated pains. I felt if I didn’t push it all out at the time I did. I might sink into depression.

7. What do you hope your new ebook will do for you?

* I hope it helps women like me accept themselves and then stay strong through all the pains their condition may have tossed their ways. I hope it challenges people who ain’t challenged to be less myopic and I hope they draw the strength of not giving up from the pages of “Stolen Paradise”.

8. Who are your role models?

* Oprah Winfrey
* Muniba Mazari
* Mercy Akinlami (Mum)
* Biola Olatunde

9. If you could change anything about you, what will it be and why?

* My initial really low perception of myself, once I saw and accepted me for who I was and what I represent. Things changed!

10. Share a typical day with our readers

* Day is mostly boring, wake up around 5am, pray, get ready for work, leave work around 4pm or 6pm or midnight depending on my shift. I have a few friends, I chat them up before bed and it begins again.

11. What will you like similarly challenged persons to take away from your story?

* The strength to keep pressing on, keep moving forward. Keep being you. Just go ahead no matter the pains and remember “Success is the best revenge ” ignore revenge mission instead invest in yourself. Keep moving ahead.

12, Please share how we may get copies of your ebook


13. What has been the response?
It’s been a bit encouraging. We bless God but it sure can do better.

14. How soon can we expect the hard copy?

* As soon as possible

Thank you for chatting with us on Centerspread.

The Chicken story

Memories, it can be sometimes painful. When you close your eyes, and between your eyelids, pictures emerge and remind you of things. You are old now and you wonder about the years, the pains and you wonder why they were so painful. What did they call it? Hindsight? Hmmm, never mind. Another festive season approaches, you watch the activity, the excitement that starts building. You remember the weather. It has gone a bit hazy now.
You remember walking the streets as the harmattan winds bit into your skin. The sun already hot, at nine in the morning. The little dust clouds your feet make as you skid across the street, the Earth in your nostrils.. Your head feels stuffed and your nose runs. It doesn’t matter, it is Christmas and you hear the songs. The carols they call it. It is time to dream of Jesus. You ask Him in your mind as you flip the pages. Did He ever celebrate Christmas too? You have read of Santa Claus in strange lands. They don’t understand about dust or dust haze, your fingers numb with cold nor about the chicken. Ah yes, the chicken as you wonder if you will get a fair share this time. Father has not even given any sign that they will be chicken this Christmas. You listen as hard as you can but everybody seems mournful and you return to your corner by the bed as you whisper the question to Jesus.
‘Please send one chicken to us. I know your father is a carpenter, but this is your birthday as papa says and it is the only time we eat chicken…and rice’. You say your Amen and wait trustingly. There are still two more days to Christmas. As you sneak out from your corner, you remember one more thing so you return
‘It is me again Jesus, please do something about the rice too, not that I like it. It is such a bother sitting still and picking the stones out of it. I prefer pounded yam really but the women make such a ceremony out of cooking rice and chicken. Papa prefers hot pounded yam on Christmas morning and he tops it with palm wine. I prefer that too’.
Prayers complete you return to wash the toilets, sweep the yard and wait to see which of your friends are ready. Chicken has started arriving in the barracks now. The clucking and squawking add to the excitement. No chicken yet in our house and a pair of brown eyes look trustingly to the east. In my heart, I knew the chicken will come. I watch Father’s eyes each night.
Today is Christmas eve, Father has gone to work and there is no sign of chicken but I am playing confidently in the yard. Father’s wives are going about their chores. They are making a huge pot of soup. No chicken as Father said it was too expensive for him to buy.
The children are seated around a calabash tray picking stones away from the brown rice. My heart skips a beat. I am holding a quiet conversation with my unseen friend. He is Arab but his colouring is funny. I mean, I think he is Arab like Ajide my friend but I know Him different. Then the knock comes at the door and a voice requests to know if Father is home. One of the wives answers the door.
She returns moments later a big grin on her face as she carries the biggest and fattest chicken we had ever seen.
A note was attached to its leg. The note was kept on the table for father as the children chased the squawking chicken into the yard and got it ready. We were all excited and danced around the chicken as our big uncle was fetched to kill the chicken.
Later in the evening when Father came back from work he listened in amazement as we told him how big the chicken was. He read the note, read it again. Quietly went into his bedroom and lay there reading the note. Father kept that note for the rest of his life. He still never went to Church, but he always celebrated Christmas and we would put palm wine in a goat’s horn to pray for us each Christmas morning, However, he would read the note to himself every morning.
One Christmas morning, Father called me into his bedroom and gave me the note to read. It was a simple note
‘Love is available to all human beings. When we learn to give of ourselves, then the celebration of His birthday is assured.
The chicken has been paid for by Jesus two thousand years ago.
Have a loving celebration of His birth’
Your grandson tugs at your hands and you jerk into the present, smile at him as he shows you his own picture of Christmas.

Where amI?

When it is a lethargy of the mind. You know you sit back, write the story, you are even amused and smile. The story flows, your adrenalin picks up a further step. You find you have been enthused for hours and you hold an animated discussion with your characters. Sigh, that was all in your mind. You come to reality when the empty computer screen mocks you with its flashes. You stand up and move to the window, its dark. Its November, the sky has not stopped weeping. Since October actually. You move to the computer again. Stare at it and wonder if you are ever going to write. You can’t remember how many times these scenes have been played out by you. It is a mercy that you have even returned to posting on your blog. Or go for a walk.
Well you did last evening, go for a walk I mean, surprised to feel the vibrant air again and your legs ached. You wonder why you did not notice the roses were now in bloom. Where have you been? You pinch your skin, and that is when you notice the wrinkles under your arm. In alarm, you hurry to your bedroom. You did not notice you had gotten that old. A long full stare in the mirror and those sad eyes weren’t your eyes were they?
Where had life gone? The phone rings and it startles you. A deep voice at the end of the line tells you nothing. The croak couldn’t be your voice surely? So you clear it and a whisper comes forth. A voice that had not been used for a while timidly wants to know who the caller is.
‘Your husband darling, are you awake now’?
I have a husband? You wonder
‘Do you feel better now’?
Have I been sick? I just went away into the meadows of my mind. Did I leave anyone behind?
You become anxious and stare suspiciously at the phone
‘Who is this please’?
Then the soft laugh and a gentle reassuring voice shakes you awake
‘Wake up darling, you slept off at the computer, must have been a boring story. Your grandson is at the door asking to see you’.
The steps bounce in, the smile of the sun as my grandson says
‘Grandma, I have finished the comic, care to read’?
Big sigh of relief

When do you retire?

I came into my 70th year recently. I understand that women don’t like talking about their age. I hear that and I wonder why. I am anxious about quite a lot of things. Naturally, as we get older, we stare at the grave more intently and we attempt to take stock of our journey so far. I have been asking myself quite a lot of questions. What do they mean when they say one should retire? I still have stories running riot in my head. I have been so disillusioned by the poor sales that I am hesitant to publish. I know my country does not really like reading except it becomes compulsory. I really wish to share but who wants to share with me? I do not want to be maudlin so I simply sigh and keep quiet. My dwindling resources demands that I must have a will to continue living and not be beggarly. I live in a country that has no safety nets for its elderly. It has dumped such responsibilities on the younger generation. Here is the rub, the younger generation have no safety nets either!
When do you retire? How did we come to this pass? I don’t think our leaders have ever given it a thought. Can we retire? I don’t think so because as you get older, you need to keep your mind and body busy. Not strenuously as to aggravate your physical strength but enough to maintain a balance. Garden sense, I call it. I ask myself, the world has gone so digital that even emotional stability is digitalized these days. Natural emotions as compassion, respect and love for one another is derided as being old school. The pace is so frighteningly technical that I wonder if might wake up to a very mechanical soulless world.
I really don’t have an answer.
Meanwhile, I want to take pleasure in the things I have always loved, like writing. Poetry,. Watching young people grapple with the mysteries that has held the world for aeons. I have become more interested in past civilizations, as I look with some curiosity to the future. I guess it means I am really getting old. I am very curious these days, Always asking why?
I watch my grandchildren, listen to their conversation. They are very assertive and confident about their ability to handle the world and live it on their own terms. I find that refreshing. I ask myself, why should I retire? Curiosity is an ageless thing. You keep alive for as long as you are curious. I hope one day when my flight is announced, I will be eager and curious about my next destination
Bah! This one was really a maudlin piece, right? I will do better next time. Promise.

And I face the sunset

I am back,
Famous words right? How many times have I said that? We will see this time. I have been under some pressure, like everyone else I guess. So what else is new?
have thought about a lot of things. Should I wind down? Stop thinking? Just curl up? There must be something to look forward to. there must something I would love to leave behind. Have I done enough?. There comes that urgent question that leaves one restless. Is there a bucket list for me? If I think of one, what will it serve? Leave me more restless than I am already. I am looking forward to leaving. I am curious and anxious about my next stop. Prayerful too. No, I did not return to church. Just curious sometimes and yes, even eager those times when I watch some of our political and spiritual leaders. I am curious too about the ones I will be leaving behind. I don’t want to be maudlin, I hate moaners.
Have you noticed that there is a new tempo to the world we live in? There is a sense of rush and despair. We seem to be breeding more intolerance amongst nations. We are burning at both ends like candles lit in the wind.
Even the music is really depressing. Maybe it is e or my age. I understand that as I get older I will have fewer friends I understand that, but what I don’t get is the rising level of hate, bigotry.
Ah well, I guess I must have gotten really old while I was not looking.


Hello Everyone, I think I am pleased with this conversation. It is a long time I had a conversation with someone across the pond. Today I have the pleasure to invite to CENTERSPREAD a poet and author. He is a poet I find kind, warm and with a sense of the world. I have quite a lot to say so I will not waste your time.
Let us read the poems of Imran Khan before we have our conversation

Imran Khan
Witness to Marriage

Alone between the bunting,
youth’s echo shone
through the pleats of a wedding dress, hung,
lone mast, dead centre of a theatre hall
gaffed wide to hold royalists
cheering rule Britannia in their plastic Harry and Megan masks.
The veil was split, you nodded when she asked “was it just the once?”
It wasn’t, you just don’t mention the other one, hanging in a wardrobe.
Life’s a glass of red spilt in youth, best disguised with a bouquet.
Time took its path across those two dresses. All day,
the only words I heard you say were ‘oh yes, I was a size twenty-four waist’
and the dress didn’t move,
it hovered at the entrance, blocking the path of forgotten,
nobody brought a camera,
you plead your wardrobe rings the bells.

(First published on ucity Review)

A Child Testifies, Rage
I find the court bundles,
find the judge who
smeared my face with war paint,
fingered my veins for Pakistani valves like
my blood could be distributing homemade bombs.

In light that mother’s boyfriend

My granny taught me to dress her trees
with ballooning chapattis.

Has the name Imran Khan

I count twenty-five years next month
since granny told mum, “Ja,
jaldi.” I didn’t know what she meant

What Pakistan was in my spirit
was not purposefully

And taking into account his connections in Pakistan

My twenty-ninth birthday arrives without my footprints passing Istanbul.
My past has been traded for the soil our judge defiles.
I spit a full mile to his ground.

We must secure the child’s future here.

They try to leave an animal inside me
for the doctors, schools and courts to see
and feed.

If mother takes child back to doctor

There is rage in the unmade doctors’ appointments.
Alleging physical harm against the father
There is rage in the bruises she comes back with.
Even where the child testifies
There is rage in each goodbye.

Father takes the child.

(First published on Seventh Wave)


Our horizon died easily,
but I still finger the splice of it. Your
departure echoed along the fringe reef,
my denial stirred grass
beneath the surface.
Now I cling to corals
like they’re answers to questions
which fill me like wine.
Waiting for the sky to open,
we are pounding water
no longer bound to one sea.

(First published on Across the Margin)

What did you think? I felt it was not going to be enough to just post his poems, I wanted to know Imran a bit more, so we had this conversation
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself
I live in Dorset with my partner, our two children and two pet gerbils called Artemis and Renfield. Aside from writing, I work for Amnesty U.K, delivering workshops and assemblies about social injustices within Britain and art-based resistances around the world.

2. How long have you been writing poetry?
I’ve been writing poetry since I was about five years old when I was commissioned by my sister to write poetry for her boyfriends. She claimed the poems as her own in return for a couple of packets of chocolate biscuits. I’d love that kind of remuneration now.

3. Your poem, ‘A child testifies..Rage’ was painful for me to read. Why did you write it?
A Child Testifies, Rage was painful to write. In Britain, there have been a great many injustices in the family courts. Court proceedings aren’t public, and judges are able to act with impunity. In an alarming number of cases, mothers have been silenced by threats of having their child taken away. The fear of their child being placed with an abusive father is crippling. After ‘Fathers for Justice’, institutions, such as CAFCASS, showed widespread biases towards fathers. CAFCASS was built with the stated aim of furthering children’s voices, but in actuality do not speak with the children, and do not take time to learn of their experiences and feelings. The workers simply use their own outdated assumptions to make decisions. This is particularly alarming in cases of child abuse. Clearly, I cannot speak for all proceedings, I am sure there were numerous cases that went against fathers which shouldn’t have. But the main issue I wanted to address here is how judges’ personal prejudices have become dangerously powerful within British family courts. These include racial prejudices and gender prejudices, which is what I personally discovered and wished to communicate through this poem.

4. You have a cynical attitude towards marriage, is that just a wrong sensing from my end?
Haha – I’m actually getting married in December, so I hope for myself and my partner’s sake there is no cynicism. This poem came from an experience of walking into a theatre that was broadcasting Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding on a big screen. The place was packed with royalists and decorated with bunting. It was a carnival atmosphere. But, hanging up in the centre of the hall was a wedding dress. An elderly lady hung it there – it was her own. Nobody spoke to her about it, it was just seen as a decoration, which I found very sad and poignant.

5. In ‘Cleaving’, you seem to mock ‘tradition’ of rigid concepts and clear divides based on religion, or tribe, in essence, a cry against bigotry. How do you want this poem to be received across the board old and young?
I think that’s a very interesting reading of the poem – far more interesting than I had in mind when writing it. The poem is about ruptures and partings – this could be of a romantic relationship, of a tribe or of our world more generally. I think I’d want young and older readers to read it according to their own personal knowledge and experience, as you have – I really do think poems become far more evocative in that way.

6. How vibrant is the poetry scene in your corner of the world?
In Bournemouth, our poetry scene isn’t very vibrant, which is a shame. But the transnational nature of poetry has helped massively – hearing from people reading my poems in countries around Africa has been an amazing experience. The vibrancy of the community online has made up for the limitations of my own town, and I’ve learnt a lot from this community. I feel I’ve been a bit critical to Bournemouth – we do have lovely beaches and the brilliant chef, Rick Stein, has a restaurant here. We also have several mini-golf courses in the area. There are just lots of distractions from writing poetry

7. Are you into other forms of writing?
Absolutely – I love theatre and short stories. I recently learned that my two-year-old son used many of my novels as part of a soup recipe, where he pours water over them to make a rich stock. My bookcase has since become quite limited. Edward Albee and Mark Twain are my favourite writers outside of poetry.

8. Has your poetry collection been published as a collection?
Not yet, but I’m hoping to have a chapbook published next year. My little girl did something really sweet for my birthday – she printed out all my published poems and arranged them for me. It really got me thinking about getting a collection together.

9. What types of reception have your poems received?
Really positive – it’s been such a boost to have had such kind feedback. The poetry market is tough, and I’ve had my fair share of rejections from publishers, so when poems are published and people take time to engage with them and get in touch, it is lovely.

10, If you do get questions from this blog, will you be willing to answer them?
Absolutely, I’d love to answer any questions. If there are any hard ones, I’ll ask my two-year-old to answer.

11. Tell us if there is any work in progress?
There’s always work in progress – I am always working on poems that have been rejected and thinking up ideas for new ones. A bigger project I’m working on is a children’s book that should be written in the next six months. I’m also working on my wedding vows.

12′. Thank you for talking to us on Centerspread
It’s been a pleasure – thank you so much for getting in touch!