Gladys Mary Coles

At the authors fair at Deganwy, organised by Jean Mead, I shared a table with poet and publisher Gladys Mary Coles. We had such a pleasant time chatting about poetry, and the friends we have in common, it made the day a really enjoyable event. Gladys Mary has been, and continues to be, a marvellous advocate for poetry and encouraging people to write. She is also a noteworthy publisher, running Headland press admirably.

I was rather surprised to discover she has just had her debut novel published. I asked her what a poet was doing writing a novel. Her reply was fascinating. In her collection Song of the Butcher Bird (Flambard), she includes some poems and diary entries in the voice of a fictional WWI soldier, Private William Manderson. Her novel, Clay, also from Flambard,

Gladys Mary Coles at a Bluecoat event

expands his narrative into a full length work. If it is anything like as good as her poetry, it will be a treat. And of course it includes poetry. As she said to me ‘I wrote his poems for him’.

Gladys Mary Coles teaches creative writing and JMU and at Burton Manor. I included a poem of hers in my festschrift for Matt Simpson, and I had work included in her Poets’ England series. She is an inspiration.

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