We had the idea to create some poetry for the Autumn Winter ‘20 collection that could be used across some of the styles. Sure, the world is full of poets, and perhaps, given the trials of 2020, our ears have never been more receptive to the lull of meaningful words.
To search for a poet is not that easy. To find a style that ‘speaks to you’ involves a stack of reading, and time, of which both were tricky. Amazingly, when Gabby was suggested to us and we read her poems, we knew we’d found our poet!
Gabby creates a newsletter ‘G Books’ which we’d recommend. It presents a beautiful pause in your inbox. Her writing is sensitive, deep, melancholy. We’d say it has a maturity way beyond her years. It touches that small calm place within us that is too often unable to surface in our lives of ‘always doing’.
These lines from one of her recent newsletters, talking about herself, took us to such a place: ‘It used to make me feel that I didn’t belong in this normal world, that I’d missed the last call to board the plane to a regular life that those around me seemed to enjoy easefully’.
We asked Gabby about how she came to be a poet. She tells us of her love of writing as a very young child, and at around age 4yrs writing her first ever poem ‘There once lived a dog with floppy ears’, all about the family German Shepherd whose ears didn’t stick up properly.
Having studied Anthropology at University College London “I spent three years studying what it means to be human”. She then travelled extensively before studying Creative Writing @ St Martins. She wrote a regular column for Salt magazine on climate issues, joined Women’s Circles and became an English teacher. But it was her deep longing to find the space to write creatively that saw her leave London and carve out a quieter existence in the country. It is here where she writes her newsletter, the draft of her first book A Year of Living Differently, which charts her own difficulties in mental health, records podcasts and is generally fulfilling that goal to write daily. She plans to set up her own circles for women in order to share creativity & poetry and as a way to build and restore those deep and meaningful emotional connection in our communities. Yes. This world needs people like Gabby.
Although we have a love of poetry, we don’t have any poets in our circle, so the life of a poet to us is a mysterious thing. Here we ask Gabby to shed some light.
What are the most significant life experiences that have influenced your writing?
As a younger adult I spent a lot of time travelling and experiencing different cultures. The time I spent living in Japan has influenced many of my subsequent ideas and in how living in an unfamiliar environment taught me how to really see.
What's your relationship to the creative process?
The creative process is actually very mysterious to me. Coming into relationship with mystery is a key part of making anything. I work with the paradox that I’m a channel for something that is beyond me and also innately a part of me.
After I’ve gathered my material, I write instinctively without taking my pen off the paper too much. It’s almost as though I’m chasing something that’ll disappear if I turn away too quickly.
What would you say are the key attributes needed to write poetry?
Sensitivity, awareness, trust, presence and love. Oh and a sense of playfulness, a willingness to be open and to listen.
What's the best thing about writing?
The best thing about writing is also the worst. As I’m in a constant relationship with it, it never leaves me alone. I’m forever observing, gathering information and receiving insights, no matter what I’m doing. This is an incredible gift in times of adversity or struggle.
I always have a connection to that sense of something else outside of my situation and when I’m alone, I always have a companion. But it demands that sacrifices are made; saying no to things, leaving the dinner table, dropping whatever I’m doing to find a pen and paper.
What are your literary inspirations?
I love Kazuo Ishiguro. I admire how he evokes very complex and painful emotions with delicate imagery and simple language. I love Mary Oliver. I also enjoy the work of poets who evoke a sense of awe and wonder in the mundane; Simon Armitage, Carol Ann- Duffy, Brian Patten. As a poet, I tend to gravitate towards the ethereal
As I began to write more prose I became attracted to authors who create beauty through simple and lucid language. I take notes on contemporary authors like Diana Evans and Kiley Reid. I like the way these authors use seemingly simple language and short sharp dialogue to create an emotional intensity that looms over the story.
Maria Popova, the author and creator behind the website brainpickings (brainpickings.org) is also a great role model of mine and one of the inspirations behind the format of GBooks.
Are wordsmiths born or formed?
Oh. that’s a big one. I think everyone is born with a gift inside of them. But it needs attention, encouragement and nutrients in order to grow. Any craft demands practice in order to develop.
I’ve written since a young age and as a child I would scarcely handle a blank piece of paper without scribbling a story on it. Often what people loved to do as a child is an expression of their essence and creative voice.
At the same time, I’m always learning, listening and looking for ways to improve my writing. Someone might find writing later in their life but I believe it would have been inside of them all along, looking for the right environment to be coaxed out. So a shorter answer to your question would be: I think it’s both.
What's the dream?
I used to think of the dream as a goal I wanted to achieve. I wanted to publish books and speak at literary festivals. Whilst I still imagine these things, the dream for me now is a realm, a state of being, rather than an achievement or outcome. To be in awe of the gifts we carry inside of us, to live in kindness and to nurture our gifts for the wellbeing of others.
This is the poem that Gabby wrote for the collection
Take Me To The Dream Of Your Life
Take me to the dream of your life,
Take me to the field of green,
that lies in your heart,
that longs to be seen.
Contact gabbymorris775@gmail to subscribe to the newsletter. visit g-books.co.uk
Header image: @milkorea/ Photography @carmen_ordonez/ Styling@annahseggara/ Models @ sugar_kids/ Team @itziarnzang, @robertgasco @whitetouch