Despite the difficulties I might suffer due to my experiences in Afghanistan, the course, and winning this award, has shown me that poetry can be a space where it is the art, and the making of the art, that matters and nothing else.
“I’m a former marine, and veteran of two operational campaigns in Afghanistan, but injury meant I had to retire from the armed forces. I wanted to do something completely different so decided to apply for an English Language with Creative Writing course at Edge Hill University.
I’d never even heard of Creative Writing as a subject, let alone written anything, but I’d always loved English at school and I wanted to do something creative. I initially saw writing as an outlet for dealing with my experiences as a soldier and a way of testing myself and seeing what I was capable of.
I found that I really enjoyed the physical process of putting a poem together. I like playing with language, and my poems are short and succinct so every word matters. I love the fact that there are endless ways to write poetry so I’m never going to finish learning.
I was injured by a land mine during an operation in Afghanistan, which scarred me both mentally and physically. I don’t want to be seen as a ‘war poet’ but my time as a soldier does colour my work. I try not to let it influence what I write but there are recurring themes about war, particularly in my early poems. I’m trying now to leave the soldier behind and let my work evolve.
Standing in front of people and reading my poetry fills me with fear, but winning the Excellence in Creative Arts Scholarship [which rewards students who display excellence as creative writers] has really boosted my confidence. It’s the greatest accolade. My goal has never been to have my name on a book cover, I’ve only ever wanted to write poems that others want to read. It’s enough for me to share my work with the class so this recognition is very humbling.
The scholarship money will really help take my poetry forward. I plan to submit a collection of poems to a small publishing house, and I’m also currently submitting poems to competitions, both of which are quite expensive ventures.
Despite the difficulties I might suffer due to my experiences in Afghanistan, the course, and winning this award, has shown me that poetry can be a space where it is the art, and the making of the art, that matters and nothing else.”
To find out more about studying this programme, please view full course information for BA (Hons) English Language with Creative Writing.