Maggie Sawkins will be launching her new collection, Zones of Avoidance, based on the live literature production that won last year’s Ted Hughes award, in Portsmouth on Saturday 28 March.
Ted Hughes award judge Denise Riley described Zones of Avoidance, which was directed by Mark C Hewitt, as “a challenging, painfully open account of a daughter’s addiction, yet it’s an account which also offers graceful good humour. Beautifully written and uncompromising, it’s a modern story that we felt the writer was compelled to tell; it acts as a vivid witness of harsh experiences which aren’t often described in poetry, and Maggie Sawkins’s illuminating descriptions will prove helpful for others to hear.”
In an interview with Write Out Loud last year, Maggie
said: “The story is very personal. I’d been gathering draft material on the subject over a period of 20 years. Much of it was in the form of diary entries and some was in the form of unsent letters to my grandson, who’s been estranged from my daughter since the age of three. My motivation was to keep a record for him – when someone close to you is gripped by addiction you’re always expecting the knock on the door. I could have written the story as a memoir and perhaps made a lot of money. However, reading back through the drafts, I realised that the ‘truth’ could be told in relatively few words. I think all of us have the one tale to tell and there are different ways of telling it. Writing in poetry enabled me to tease out the terrible beauty from what, in reality, has been a much darker story.”
The launch of the book, published by Cinnamon Press, is at The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth at 7.30pm. Entry is free. More details and Map
Background: ‘The dramatic material provided by living in a battlefield is a gift for any writer’
Music with Bernard MacDonagh and Claire Ward
‘Multimedia live literature production Zones of Avoidance was written and performed by poet Maggie Sawkins and directed by Mark C Hewitt with film sequences from Abigail Norris. Colin Hambrook reviews a performance at the All Saints Centre, Lewes on 29 October.
Winner of the 2014 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, Zones of Avoidance is haunting, creating a resonance with my own life struggles. The words within Zones of Avoidance speak to the largely buried, impossible plight of thousands of families from all walks of life, up and down the country.’
Read the rest of the review here:
My interview with Greg Freeman from Write Out Loud
‘Earlier this year Maggie Sawkins won the Ted Hughes award for innovation, with Zones of Avoidance, a poetic account of a daughter’s addiction that is also an ambitious multimedia presentation using film, voices and sound. Sawkins, a teacher and the organiser of the long-running Tongues&Grooves poetry and music night in Portsmouth, talks to Greg Freeman about teasing out the story’s “terrible beauty”; the “affirming” feedback she has received after each performance; and the difficulty she has had in persuading some theatres and festivals to include Zones of Avoidance in their programmes.’
Click here for the full interview:
A Word Dance into the Void of Addiction – Maggie Sawkins
Maggie discusses how writing about her daughter’s dual diagnosis enabled her to reach a place of compassion and acceptance. Her live literature production, Zones of Avoidance, which won The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, is described as ‘beautifully written and uncompromising.’ Through poetry, letters and monologues, Maggie manages to juggle the imperative of honesty – how to tell an important story truthfully – and ‘avoidance’ – how bitter truths may be made bearable. The talk will be illustrated by short poem films from the production.
Lecture Theatre 1027 – Nightingale Building
14.50 – 15.50
Poem films from Zones of Avoidance.
Zones of Avoidance now has its own website: