3 poems from Julie Stevens : Playing Dead, Hindsight, Sea Legs

Playing Dead

The last time you saw me I was dead.
Clowning with ghosts, up to no good
in my head, where nothing goes wrong.

Not out there, sick and lonely
trying to make myself heard,
trying to switch on this damn light
clinging to the side.

The world that wants me is in here,
where the dead can live.

Not out there, sick and lonely
where eyes let me down,
where you let me down
never seeing past my smiles.

The world that wants me is in here,
where the dead can live.

The trees know I’m there
letting me lean on their posts,
the birds know I’m there
filling sadness with song.

The dead know I’m there
waiting to strangle your fun. 

Hindsight

I didn’t get the main part in the audition.
I couldn’t keep my balance like you did
tapping in circles. I think it started then. 
I never reached the end of that final, 
but reared up after take-off, holding the pain 
in one scorched leg. This could have been a sign. 
I wasn’t lifting those legs to pedal hard, 
letting that hill roll higher than me.
Was that it? I failed to reach those piano
keys, hand spreading no further than a
slice of bread. I couldn’t pick that up either.

Sea Legs

I saw them falling − 
two legs thrown from the cliff of medicine,
one final sprint to chase the sea.

I knew these waves −
the rise and fall of a body
only to drown far too early.

They took my future,
drenched my way forward,
anchored me to this last race.

Bloated and thrashed
I lay on the sea bed,
swallowing calls for help.

Wolfpack Contributor: Julie Stevens
 
A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Julie Stevens

 

Wolfpack Contributor: Julie Stevens

Julie Stevens writes poems that cover many themes, but often engages with the problems of disability. Her poems have recently been published in Fly on the Wall Press, Ink Sweat & Tears, Dear Reader and Acropolis Journal. Her winning Stickleback pamphlet Balancing Act was published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press (June 2021) and her chapbook Quicksand by Dreich (Sept 2020). Website: www.jumpingjulespoetry.com. Twitter @julesjumping

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Julie Stevens

with Julie Stevens:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Julie: I started writing seriously about 3 years ago. I showed 3 poems I’d written whilst at university years ago to a poet friend, who suggested taking up writing again. There’s no stopping me now. I remember having a real interest (still do) in Ted Hughes and Shakespeare in my teens.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Julie: My biggest influence today? So many to mention, but I absolutely love the work of Sylvia Plath, Simon Armitage, Seamus Heaney and many more.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Q4:Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Julie: I grew up in a town called Harrogate in North Yorkshire, England. I had a real interest in theatre and think learning and reciting poems for many auditions helped influence my love of poetry.

I am always gaining ideas for poems on my travels. As a disabled person, I meet many obstacles that make the day more challenging or rewarding. I have recently written a poem about being free on a zip wire in Wales.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Julie: Most of my poems give an insight into my disabled life with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I am gaining so much enjoyment from writing and hearing how people relate to the poems and they are helping. My MS diagnosis has become a very positive thing.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Julie: When I’m not writing I love getting outdoors and seeing a brilliant view. Nature always has a positive influence on me. I also enjoy meeting up with friends over a good cup of coffee!

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Julie: I am currently fundraising for the MS Trust charity who have helped me so much over the years, particularly in funding MS nurses. All proceeds from my books sold go to this charity. Knowing I have written poems that are now helping fund the charity and through this am helping others with MS is an amazing thing. The Book Shop on my website: www.jumpingjulespoetry.com has links for my pamphlets Quicksand (Dreich 2020) and Balancing Act (Hedgehog Poetry Press 2021).

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Julie: I have so many favourite poems I’ve written, but one of the lines I go back to and tell myself comes from my poem Bird: ‘Come now, ride with me, you won’t stumble in clouds,’ even when walking down the street!

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Julie: There are many people who have helped me with my poems, providing feedback in poetry groups, or from more professional mentoring (Anna Saunders, Rebecca Goss), so I guess they’ve helped me improve the most.

Links:

Wolfpack Contributor: Julie Stevens

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Julie Stevens

3 poems from Julie Stevens : Playing Dead, Hindsight, Sea Legs

https://hybriddreich.co.uk/quicksand-julie-stevens-2/

https://burninghousepress.com/2020/04/21/two-poems-by-julie-stevens/

Poetry by Julie Stevens in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020 ‘Angst’

Poetry by Julie Stevens in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020 ‘Angst’

Mural, Girl, Balloon, Child, Heart
Angst
I'm the thunder you hold now
with my cries,
I'm all around rattling your calm.
I bring dark to your shine,
when you look at me here.

I'm the fall of questions
you keep wanting to catch,
I'm the words you repeat
when they won't drift away,
I know how to taint your breath.

Swirling around
I see where you are,
shaking your ground,
I sense where you flee.
I'm there beside you
telling you how to think,
but you have to let me go.

Wolfpack Contributor: Julie Stevens

3 poems from Julie Stevens : Playing Dead, Hindsight, Sea Legs

Bio from 2020:
Julie Stevens has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and her poems tend to reflect the impact MS has on her life, as well as other topics close to her heart. Her poems have been published most recently on The Blue Nib, The Honest Ulsterman and Dodging the Rain.  Her chapbook, Quicksand, is published by Hybrid Press having come second in the Dreich Chapbook Competition 2020.  Her website is www.jumpingjulespoetry.com 


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