Tessa Strickland



Although I have become well known over the years as a writer of prose and verse for children, under the pen names Stella Blackstone and Oscar Seaworthy, I am still very much a novice poet and find myself grappling in the dark with the many mysteries and subtleties of this genre. At the start of the year I was lucky enough to spend a week at the Arvon Foundation with Ann and Peter Sansom,  whose inspirational teaching propelled me into action. Out of that week came ’The Time of the White Wolf’, a narrative poem which has been accepted for online publication  later this spring by The Learned Pig, www.thelearnedpig.com. I also submitted a pamphlet about my family history, ‘It All Depends’, to the Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition. After this, I gave myself a few weeks of creative indolence, during which I discovered  poets such as Frances Williams, Mary Dorcey, Kim Moore and others, and tried to attend to why I liked what I liked – to the ‘how’ of the poems as well as their impact on me. Easter in the hills of western Andalucia gave rise to some new scraps of writing and to the beginnings of poems which move to and fro between the ancient world and the present day. Writing this entry for Project2017 brings with it a commitment to myself to continue to follow this particular thread wherever it leads me, perhaps to another pamphlet.  


‘Let your play be your work and your work be your play’ (my personal mantra)

Also ‘ars est celare artem’ – it is very hard to translate this expression.  I invite contributions! Literally, it means ‘the art is to hide the art’ or ‘art is about hiding art’.  To me, there is a sense in the original about the way in which the best art does what it does so well that you don’t at first register the labour and skill that lie behind it. 



One comment on “Tessa Strickland

  1. barleybooks says:

    I’ve just had the pleasure of reading your well-crafted and touching poems in “The North” #58. Congratulations! It was nice to meet you in Bath; I hope our paths may cross again.


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