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Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt

Updated: Fri, 10 Jul 2015 03:22 pm!home/c16cy


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Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt grew up in Aveley in Essex. She moved to Redruth to teach at Redruth Comprehenive School where she taught until she left teaching in 2004. Since then she has made her home at Druids Lodge which stands in the shadow of local landmark Carn Brea. Here she lives happily with her singer/songwriter partner, David Rowland, Rabbit, and Percival Dog. She occupies her time by writing poetry and short fiction, dabbling in amateur theatricals, and both attending giving performances, readings and workshops. She also cares for her elderly mother, Barbara, who lives next door. Since leaving teaching Abigail has completed a number of courses of study including a degree in Complementary Therapies (2006)and a Diploma in Creative Writing (2008). She is now addicted to online MOOC's and has been known to take them three at a time. This, she has realised, has to stop because it is eating into her writing time. The best MOOC she has done so far was one on the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Abigail attends the Penzance Writers’ Café and is a member of Lapidus South West. She performs her work at festivals and events in mid and west Cornwall. As well as reading solo, she makes regular appearances with her singer/songwriter partner as the ‘The Fool and the Liar’ with appearances at the Penryn Festival and the Penzance Litfest in the summer of 2015. Together with friend and colleague, Jak Stringer, Abigail has staged a number of literary events including the first ever Marazion Festival which took place at The Godolphin Arms in 2013. For the two years ending in December, 2014, she was joint editor with Hamish Mack of the on-line poetry magazine ‘Poetry 24’. She surrendered the editorship in order to make more time for her own work. Since 2007 Abigail’s work has appeared in more than a hundred magazines, journals and anthologies. (More details of her published work can be found on her homepage.) She was the winner of the 2012 Lisa Thomas Poetry Prize with her poem ‘After Midnight’ and has been ‘Commended’ and ‘Highly Commended’ in a number of national competitions including most recently - and for the third consecutive year - 'The Page Is Printed' Creative Writing Competition. In 2012, she was a Pushcart Nominee for her poem 'Still Life' which was inspired by the life and work of American artist Georgia O'Keefe. In 2014, she was one of the judges in the Hysteria Writing Competition for Women having been among the winners the year before. 'Moths in a Jar' was a chapbook collections published in the autumn of 2010. The short story collection, 'Old Soldiers, Old Bones’, came as a result of her winning the One Million Stories Writing Challenge in 2011. The collection was published in 2012 in conjunction with Simon Million of One Million Stories.


Bathing with My Father (Kennack Sands 1959) Chest high in the glittering ocean, beyond the cool shadow of the cliff’s sheer edge and the long, crooked fingers of dark rock, I am bobbing, cresting, feeling the lightness of my body and the pull of the sand between my toes. In my dreams, I can go back there: where you are counting waves, waiting for the big one to come rolling; it will lift us up like the slow hand of God and then carry us all the way in. And I am watching you, feeling the connection, yet knowing I cannot sustain it; soon enough, in a hubbub of sandwiches, hot, sweet drinks and thermos flasks, gritty, wet towels and spread-eagled costumes, you will shrink back inside yourself and I will slip, peevish, away. There are too many of us and I am too small; my shrill song goes unheard amidst this tumult. Displaced and sent tumbling by this salt rush and roar, I am a dogfish in a rock pool full of sharks. (first published by myCornwall magazine, December, 2014) The Turning Year September skies are greedy for those delicate blossoms May finds hanging in profusion. Every flower trembles on the edge of extinction, each special after its own way. October through November, the sun limps on. The river seeks and finds its own level. December: our hearts are a salt marsh of sadness. January strikes us like a spade. The Hag Speaks Out of Time What is she now but a thing forgot, marking time in the sanitised aisles? Where is the throb and hum of the crowd, and the wheels that crack and wind? Once, for her kind, things were simple enough: to sink, to swim, or to fly: a silver spool, the road unwound and the trees held out their bare arms. These days, though, there are seldom trees; no scrap of blue poplin hangs above; and this clumsy cart will not be steered, but goes crab-like, grumbles and groans. There was more plain sense in the old way of things: in the water, the green-wood, and the stones, How sharp and clear shone that last, bright route and its sweet culmination of thorns.

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