IT WAS WHEN IT WAS WHEN IT WAS by Julie Sampson
Julie Sampson lives in Somerset, but her roots and dreams are at the place she spent her childhood, in mid Devon just a stone’s throw from Dartmoor, where her grandparents created a home and idyllic garden. Nowadays she works as an independent writer and poet, but previously was a music (piano) teacher, then tutor of creative writing and literature at various colleges in the south-west, including The University of the West of England. She has a PhD on the writer H.D.
Julie’s poems have been published in a variety of magazines, anthologies and online as well as short-listed or placed in several competitions, Her work was included in Making Worlds; One Hundred Contemporary Women Poets, 2003 (Headland/Second Light Publications) and Fanfare, 2015 (Second Light Publications). She edited Lady Mary Chudleigh’s Selected Poems, 2009 (Shearsman Books) and a full poetry collection, Tessitura, was also published by Shearsman Books, in 2014. A non-fiction manuscript on the subject of the history of Devon Women Writers was short-listed for The Impress Prize, in 2015.
Further information about Julie Sampson:
“It's not difficult to hear the music we recognize as English Poetry in Julie Sampson's family chronicle (how history's known & told in this era of the personal). And it works like a charm -- memory's landscapes & vice-versa, poignant & determinedly present.”
“Julie Sampson writes of the ties that bind and the threads that link us with our ancestors and the natural world with an enviable fluidity. Her attention to detail evokes worlds within worlds.”
'These are not only poems of seductive and succulent detail. As Julie Sampson makes clear early in the collection, her project is to show the fruits of being fully present in our lives, in our family stories. To pay the world its due attention, to miss as little as possible, is to build the capacity to someday retrieve and ‘refold enigmas layering our life’. Here are the results - the vivid, moving triumphs of the poems.' (Alasdair Paterson)
“This sequence is a journey into Julie Sampson’s childhood and her family’s past. Through her own recollections of her parents and grandparents together with memories handed down to her, she re-creates a lost rural way of life as well as her own childhood. The details are telling, the writing elegiac as she shares with the reader the closeness she feels with her family’s past and the world they lived in: its stone walls, churchyards, rooks, badgers, cows and farm kitchens.”
38 pages 15cm wide x 21cm tall
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Uncle under Moonlight
Cramming the extended family
back into the ancestral drawer
one thick folder wouldn’t fit -
contents fell to the floor -
papers, letters shred as dust,
to ground from above.
Your sister always told
us of the bolt from the blue
the morning they thought you’d not
return, those long days and
endless nights when you were taken
into skies, the warbird soaring high
above cumulus and mother clouds -
how they shot,
blew you quick away
as a wink, farm boy to flight lieutenant.
You rose the ranks with stars.
When you had to drop
the shells you said
your eyes, the city’s tears,
like the galaxy
and in your mind's eye
Devon's fields of placid cows
in clover under moonlight -
your father, Grandad, asleep
beneath Lydcott’s eaves -
for the call to cud.