Island Writing Poetry – Jen Hadfield

This video is like a lovely visit to an island, as poet Jen Hadfield talks about how she writes, closely linked with her life on the remote Shetland Islands, off the coast of Scotland.

Listening to her slow rhythms of speaking, in her cottage is like visiting an interesting friend, and seeing her in the landscape is like going on a beach holiday.  This is poetry writing from a deep involvement in a particular geographical location.  If you are interested in biology of plants and sea, then you will find little treats throughout.

Creative Takeaways

Where do you feel most at home?  Write/draw/paint that place.

Jen says that some poems come to you easily – but explains that she has to do regular writing of poems so that when the outright gift comes, she is able to write it.  Let that encourage you to keep practicing your craft/art, even when it seems fairly mechanical – it makes you ready to express the flush of outright inspiration, in its occasional visit.  You are ready and able to put it down on paper, canvas or whichever medium you work in.

Although Jen has benefitted from awards for her poetry – the Scottish Poetry Library notes: “Just in case that all sounds swimmingly easy, it should be pointed out that residencies, prizes and bursaries have been supplemented with work ranging from framing pictures to gutting fish.”  Each creative finds their own path to continue their art and yet earn a living.  As you look at the range of these paths in the lives of artists you may see if there is a path which could help your own life balance.



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