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Poet Profile: Sharon Jones



Welcome to another poet profile! In this one, we'll be looking at the work another winner of the Luain Press Poetry Album competition, Sharon Jones. Her poem Spring, features as track number seven on the 11 Whispers album. Check out her poem below:


Spring

The world is poised, as if in fragile balance

at the brink of something new, and yet

the music is as ancient as time.


Ferns are silent by the riverbank

where buds of golden celandine are not quite

ready to sing, but tiny sprigs of green


arise to punctuate the limbs of saplings.

Like lines of quavers that await the dancing,

birds announce their melodies of light.


An orchestra is getting into tune

and the audience is spellbound: a longed -

for oratorio is ready to begin.


A bit about yourself


I was born in Belfast and grew up on Northern Ireland’s beautiful North Coast. I studied Modern and Medieval Languages at Girton College Cambridge and have been teaching back in Northern Ireland since 1994. Currently I work in teacher development at Stranmillis University College where I give courses in literature, language and education. I’ve also been involved in lots of international work with the college since I joined the team ten years ago. I am married with three grown-up children and I live and write in rural County Antrim.


What makes you tick?


My interests in languages and literature go hand in hand with a love of travel. I have always enjoyed reading travel books and am increasingly inspired in my own writing by place and the natural world. During pandemic lockdowns, I found a lot of joy writing a staycation blog series called ‘Summer at Home’ https://writinghome.blog/category/staycation/, focusing on places close to home that I have known for many years. I am a Christian, and my faith informs my life, my work and my writing.


Who inspires you?


This is a good question! Firstly, my family, and especially my husband who is so dedicated in

everything he does. And I mustn’t forget my amazing colleagues in education, and my students over the years. In literary terms, I’m inspired by writers from this little corner of the world that I call home, writers who have responded to the land and seascapes of Ulster, especially Seamus Heaney and C.S. Lewis. I am deeply impressed by the sustained creativity and global vision of Northern Irish hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty. And I am very grateful for my all of my generous, creative friends: Jonathan Rea and all the ‘family’ at New Irish Arts; artist and sculptor Ross Wilson; Country Antrim artist Pauline Gribben; and many more – the list could go on!


What are your plans for the future?/ Anything in the pipeline?


The next big thing on the horizon for me is a visit to India this Spring with two really inspiring

women, Dr Christine Burnett, CEO and Founder of Northern Irish charity Saphara, and Saphara Education Director, Paula Stronge. We are traveling with a great group of students from St Mary’s and Stranmillis University Colleges Belfast. It promises to be quite an adventure for me personally; an incredible opportunity. I know I will learn a lot. I am hoping that being in India will inspire some new writing too.


Your advice for writers


A friend recently described something that I had written as ‘helpful’. That was an important moment for me. I believe that we all have gifts and talents. It’s up to each of us to develop our craft well, and to use our gifts and talents for good. In my experience, collaboration and collaborative projects have been wonderful. And last but not least, there’s the matter of encouragement. Encouragement is energising, like fresh air, and there is just not enough of it in our world. I think we should encourage each other as we work.

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