A group of local published poets have come together to champion mental health and aim to take their workshops and performances to the Shrewsbury Food Festival in Quarry Park on 4th September near Shrewsbury town centre. The topic for their poetry will be mental health.
Walsall poet and retired social worker and lecturer Phil Buckley said “In recent years and particularly during the past 18 months or so of the global pandemic, people`s mental health in general has, at the very least, been severely tested. We have all found ourselves in a succession of lockdowns where insecurity and uncertainty have become the norm.
Our relationships with our loved ones, our jobs, our children`s education, our recreational time – indeed – every aspect of our lives – have been challenged. Many have sought strength by taking up new hobbies which don`t involve face-to-face interaction with others.
Cycling, art, playing a musical instrument, walking in our natural spaces, becoming a member of an internet group and indeed poetry are all hobbies and pastimes which people have found to enrich their lives through difficult times.” Phil Buckley believes that for many people successive lockdowns have had the effect of opening our eyes to our individual priorities and what really matters in our lives. He was part of a team of Walsall poets that performed at Mile of Smiles after the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted nationally last month.
Mile of Smiles was a free family festival that offered performers, musicians, actors and poets an opportunity to be part of a festival again and raise much-needed money for a mental health charity., “”We made such a good impression on the organisers” explained Phil “that we were invited back for the Food Festival and we are proud to be flying the flag for Walsall.”
The group of local poets, “Karma Unchained”, are Phil Buckley, Elliot Parker, Tina Cox, Angela Wood, Julia Dean-Richards, Maurice Malcolm and Ian Henery. “It is hoped that “Karma Unchained” poetry will give everyone time to pause and reflect on these challenging times in the beautiful setting of Quarry Park” explained Phil Buckley “adjacent to the River Severn a few hundred yards from where we will be performing in the specially dedicated poetry gazebo tent.
The festival also has loads of great food, live music, cake decorating classes, children`s entertainment and much much more.”
Photo Credit – Phil Buckley Julia Dean-Richards and Ian Henery of Karma Unchained.