Maggie Sawkins

Maggie is the founder of Portsmouth poetry and music club, Tongues&Grooves, set up in 2003 with the aim of empowering people to express themselves through poetry and music.  In 2013 she was chosen by the Poetry Book Society to represent Portsmouth on the T S Eliot Poetry Prize Tour. She won the 2013 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for her live literature production, ‘Zones of Avoidance’. Maggie now lives on the Isle of Wight where she runs the Brading Station Writing Group and organises the VENT poetry festival affiliated to Ventnor Fringe.

Maggie has provided creative writing workshops for organisations including The Poetry School, Anvil Arts, MIND, Mayflower Theatre, HMP Erlestoke, St James’ Hospital, as well as poetry and performance workshops including at New Theatre Royal and Kings Theatre in Portsmouth.

She has also delivered projects such as ‘Finding the Words’ for people living with dementia, ‘The Last Hour’ at the D-Day Museum, ‘Poetry for Emotional Well being’ at Portsmouth City Girls School, and ‘Hooked on Words’ at Cranstoun Community Drug Action.

Recent and current projects: 

  • From the Heart Poetry Workshops at Portsmouth Central Library
  • Community Conversations – poetry project for the refugee and asylum seeker community in Portsmouth.
  • Hampshire Festival of the Mind 2018 – writing for well-being workshops 
  • ‘I Saw My Voice’ – writing for well-being at Portsmouth Museum
  • Poetry Workshops for SHIFT –  a peer led support group for people with experience of mental health difficulties.
  • Translation workshops at Bucharest University, Romania.

‘I so enjoyed a workshop Maggie did a while ago in Portsmouth in connection with Ferry Tales and Maggie was a brilliant leader.’ Marianne Barber

Poetry Collections

  • Charcot’s Pet  (Flarestack Publishing) 2003
  • The Zig Zag Woman (Two Ravens Press) 2007
  • Zones of Avoidance (Cinnamon Press) 2015
  • Many Skies Have Fallen (Wild Mouse Press) 2018
  • The House Where Courage Lives (Waterloo Press) 2022

‘Maggie uses words economically and at the same time conveys intense emotional subtext, compassion and empathy. She always writes about what matters and is a brave writer who faces difficult themes with subtlety and humanity.’ Stephanie Norgate

‘Maggie has such an imagination that she can create strange fictions in the form of poetry. She also sees right into the strangeness of our living and has the reflective vision to make us see it, as it were, inside-out.’ Chris Sparkes

‘This is poetry for the soul, written from the heart. Maggie’s lyrics turn the pain of loss into a legacy of haunting beauty.’ Robyn Bolam

Poems included in the following Anthologies

  • The Valley Press Anthology of Prose Poetry — Valley Press 2019
  • The Verve Anthology of City Poems – Verve Poetry Press 2018
  • Best of British – Paper Swans Press
  • Fifty Ways to Fly – ed. Alison Hill
  • Lyrical Beats – celebrating five years of Rhythm&Muse, ed. Alison Hill
  • Said and Done – New Writing from Brittle Star (Stonewood Press)
  • Images of Women  (Second Light) ed. Myra Schneider & Dilys Wood
  • Four Caves of the Heart (Second Light) ed. Myra Schneider & Dilys Wood
  • This Island City – Portsmouth in Poetry (Spinnaker Press) ed. Dale Gunthorpe, Denise Bennett, Maggie Sawkins
  • Did I Tell You? Poems for Children in Need  (Wordaid) ed. Nicky Gould & Vicky Wilson
  • Soul Feathers (Indigo Dreams Press)
  • The Second tall-lighthouse Poetry Review
  • Beyond Stigma (Sixties Press) ed. Barry Tebb
  • The Book of Hopes and Dreams (Bluechrome Publishing) ed. Dee Rimbaud
  • Mouth Ogres (Oxmarket Press) ed. Dave Swann & Hugh Dunkerley
  • Dreaming Beasts (Krebs & Snopes) ed. Dave Swann & Hugh Dunkerley
  • Writing Your Self (Continuum) ed.John Killick & Myra Schneider
  • Writing Routes – A Resource Handbook of Therapeutic Writing (JKP) ed. G Bolton, V Field, K Thompson
  • Her Wings of Glass (Second Light) ed. Myra Schneider, Penelope Shuttle & Dilys Wood

Further information: