Continuing our series of commentary from older women writers, here is Kate Foley on the huge gap between first experience of making poetry poet and actually getting published 45 years later. Also, video interview from when we first published Kate, in October 2016, with her collection The Don’t Touch Garden (also available as an audio book)
‘Up on the wild and lonely moors/ a keen wind is blowing./ The heather and the yellow gorse/ are in profusion growing….’ I wrote, aged 11 in my first convent grammar school year. ‘That’s poetry’ said my lion-headed English teacher. So I knew that I was destined to become a poet.
My second stroke of luck happened when I was 56 at a bookshop ‘do’ when I’d thrust a few poems on Lilian Mohin, publisher of Onlywomen press, who raised her eyebrows wearily. Next day the phone rang and a voice said ‘I want to do a book!’ Now nearly 30 years and 11 publications later I still don’t know where the difference between being a poet and making poetry lies. Is it because I’m a woman in a world largely occupied by men in the being a poet bit? Nah! True but too easy! Time left only to savour that moment when one word fits another creating a nest for the rare and magical egg of poetry.