Outside interest: writing poetry

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 23 Mar 2016

Tammy AdamsTammy Adams writes poetry and makes “the most of Edinburgh’s vibrant spoken word scene” when she’s not heading up planning at Homes for Scotland, the trade body for the Scottish home building industry.

How did you get into poetry?

I enjoyed English and writing poetry during my GCSE years. I didn’t pursue English at 'A' Level or put pen to paper for some time after that, but when I’d been working a few years I took a few months off between jobs. In that time I read an article about beginner's courses with the Arvon Foundation at Moniack Mhor writing centre in the Highlands. My writing took off from there.

What does it involve?

Unlike many pursuits, I do poetry as it pleases and at times that suit me. I look out for workshops at places like the Scottish Poetry Library and at writing festivals like St Anza in St Andrews. I also keep an eye out for poetry competitions and am currently taking part in an online course with the Poetry School on “Hinterlands and Homelands”. I always carry a notebook with me.

Why do you do it?

Poetry is a great way of expressing yourself and working out how you are feeling. It can be good therapy and, in a funny way, a good friend. It’s also a fun way of capturing the odd things we see or hear and enjoy for a few moments but then forget. 

What’s the toughest thing about it?

If you are doing it for fun, there’s nothing tough about it at all. Some poets torture themselves to be famous or published. I’m happy to just see what comes. It’d be nice to win a money prize and go on a fancy holiday, but I’m not relying on it.

What’s the most rewarding thing about it?

Without doubt it’s the people I’ve met and the strong feeling of community. Both within Edinburgh and across the country, I’ve got a really solid set of writing friends who are always there to offer encouragement and critical feedback.

Are there any similarities between your day job and poetry?

Both involve a lot of writing and careful crafting of words. And I guess there’s an element of problem-solving to both too. You get a germ of an idea and work away at it until you’ve achieved your aim, and there’s a great sense of achievement in both.

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