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Interview with Sally James 24/03/2019
L: Hi, Sally, it’s a pleasure to be able to interview you about your gorgeous little book, ‘The Wasamaroo’. Perhaps you could begin by telling me all about the origins of some of the rhymes within.
S:The origins of some of the rhymes in Wasamaroo were sometimes just pure imagination but a few were about things that happened like the one about my children's pet cat that would sit on the dust bin washing his fur and a neighbour coming out and squirting water at him. The one about Spotty dog I made up when I was ironing one day just to keep the children occupied. They really loved this poem even though it was sad. I saw some Llamas in a field whilst out walking one day and the poem popped into my head about a Llama in pyjamas . Wasamaroo came very quickly for a creative writing exercise. I had to write a name with four syllables and write a poem about it thus the Wasamaroo was born.
L: Did any of your family members have personal favourites from the works within ‘The Wasamaroo’?
S:My grown up children liked Spotty Dog and My Pussy cat as they remembered them from their childhood. Depending on their ages one grandchild aged six liked Nosy People and a five year old great grandchild liked a Limerick to Make you sick. Grown ups have commented how they like Bongle Boo and a Martian Lament. My teacher daughter liked the one about the teachers stock room. All seemed to like The Wasamaroo.
L: What made you consider publication now?
S: I considered publication now as I am getting quite old and would like to see my children's poetry in print and for my family to enjoy. They were just gathering dust in files and I thought it would be good to share them in the big wide world and for people to make of them what they will.
L: I know you’re an experienced writer of many years standing and undertook an MA in Creative Writing, as well as specialist Lancashire dialect works. You still perform, don’t you? Would you mind sharing with us some of your writing history?
S: I started writing poetry when I was about twelve years old inspired by poetry I did at school John Masefield comes to mind. At junior school I loved writing "compositions" as it was called in those days. Being the eldest I also loved making stories up for my young brother and cousins when I looked after them. When I had children and grandchildren of my own I told them bedtime stories that I made up as I went along my imagination working overtime.
I have had poems published in numerous anthologies small press magazines e-line magazines and read on local radio. I also along with my husband entertain with Lancashire dialect poetry we call ourselves The Tin Pot poets. I have a pamphlet of poetry "Coal dust and Confetti" about the harsh realities of mining which was published in 2014 by Thynks publications. A few of my short stories which are mainly about industrial Lancashire have won prizes and been published on line . My husband and I also have a cd called The Tin Pot Poets where we aim to promote the Lancashire dialect with our dialect poetry.
L: How would you describe your writing in five words? How would you describe yourself?!
S: My writing in five words Quirky funny serious thought provoking.
Describe myself? A mixture of happiness and sadness trying to make sense of the world I find myself in.
At the moment I am putting together a book of the short stories which I have written over the years.
L: What further writing ambitions do you still have? Are you working towards them at the moment?
S:My ambition is to write about my late husband's Channel Swim which he did in 1991. I am hoping to start writing this this year.
Thanks so much, Sally x
Tin Pot Poets
In this CD of Lancashire dialect poems written and recited by Sally James, Ron Williams and their combined efforts as The Tin Pot Poets, Sally proves she can write for both children and adults. With titles like, 'A bun in th' oven', 'Food for thowt' and 'Fifty Shades o'red' it is well worth a listee, even for non-experts in Lancashire dialect. Love it!
Coal Dust and Confetti
Sally Evans (Editor of Poetry Scotland) reviewed Sally James' 'Coal Dust and Confetti':
"A really good poet with the command of English necessary to bring alive these truths about the mining community. Sally James delicately and completely describes the lot of the miners and mining villages in these memorable poems."
Sally has been writing in both Standard English and Lancashire dialect since she was a child.
Her first collection of poems in Standard English - she calls the poems within 'Silhouettes' her soul poems.
The poems are personal and reflect deep feelings.
An individualist, as far as poetry is concerned, Sally prefers to write from the heart and as the mood takes her.
She has had poems published in various anthologies, as well as read on the radio.
Sally took early retirement from her work as a District Nurse in 1991 and since they she gained a BA (Hons) Degree with the Open University, and an MA in Creative Writing at Bolton Institute.
Prolific Poet, Sally James
Sally, a mum, grandma and great grandma, has been writing since a child. She has had many of her poems published in anthologies, small press magazines and read on local radio. She also writes and performs Lancashire dialect poems.
Her poems are widely published and performed, and she knows exactly what goes down well with a rapt audience.
In addition to 'The Wasamaroo', Sally's other other titles include:
'Coal Dust and Confetti' - a book of poetry that contrasts a life spent in coal mining with a wedding.
'Silhouettes' - a collection of what Sally calls her 'soul poems'.
'Tin Pot Poets' - a CD collection of humorous dialect verse, by Sally and her husband, Ron.