Author Archives: juliamcg

Do you have to live in the Cathedral now?

  This comment from a former student of mine popped up on LinkedIn as I updated my job profile to include ‘Poet-in-Residence at Chester Cathedral,’ the year’s Volunteer Role I’m privileged to have started on August 1st. I’ve had excited smiles from my friends and a warm welcome from the Cathedral community as I’ve taken […]

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Turning Points at Write for Growth

It so often happens: A Write for Growth topic I thought would be quite straightforward is more complicated than expected.  As we gathered at Gladstone’s Library earlier in July to explore our theme of Turning Points, we started by looking at Robert Frost’s deceptively simple poem, ‘The Road Not Taken.’ The reader can easily be […]

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Reading As Above So Below

  ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ So says Shakespeare’s Hamlet to his friend, shaken by the sight of Hamlet’s father’s ghost. As Above So Below is a new online magazine dedicated to poetry in the territory of these ‘more things.’ It explores themes of […]

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Journalling into 2019

Write for Growth’s  New Year, New Journal Workshop at Gladstone’s Library on a January Saturday always draws a full house. We gathered to explore fresh angles on journalling our way through 2019. Making space to write is one thing, but once we’ve done that, we can find another gap – between our desire to write […]

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Coffee with a Poem

‘It’s all about how we have choices,’ said a Write for Growth participant, as we looked at this poem under our workshop theme Space and Light. See what you think over a cup of coffee as we sit down with Naomi Shihab Nye’s ‘The Art of Disappearing.’    The Art of Disappearing When they say […]

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Poetic Spirit in the City

It was Race Day in Chester in Saturday as we came together at Retreat House Chester for the more gentle pursuit of the poetic spirit.  Poetry and spirituality inhabit a common landscape. Derek Walcott, whose poem Love after Love was amongst those we read, has said, ‘I never separated the writing of poetry from prayer.…it […]

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Between Seasons

When  August is drawing to a close – particularly after the Bank Holiday – I always have a sense of the season starting to shift. The light becomes more tawny and slant; there’s a new chill in the breeze and the clear, light evenings of June have given way to twilight’s earlier curtain. It may […]

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Encountering Animals at Frodsham

Animal Encounters was our theme for April’s Write for Growth at Castle Park Arts Centre, amid the stimulus of the annual exhibition of the Association of Animal Artists This year’s exhibition is even more inspirational than last year, incorporating categories from Power and Pace of Life to Fragile World and Windows to the Soul. It’s […]

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Dancing with Words at Hawarden

Dear Body… be a bell that rings your presence, singles your space, O acolyte of days.… These were words that flowed from my head down my arm and hand, through pen to paper, surprising my mind as my eyes read them back to me on the page. I was at poet Polly Atkins’ ‘Writing the Body’ […]

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Words for Unwanted Journeys

  It was only after I’d finished writing the poem that I realised: this would be the last one I would write about my mother. From the time she had started to decline in health as Parkinson’s Disease advanced, I found some of the poems I wrote began to reflect this unwanted journey. I needed […]

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  • About Julia

    Julia

    From writing stories for my younger brother, to penning poems for the School Magazine and filling a growing pile of personal journals, the written word has always been part of my life’s journey.

    I started out as an English Teacher and subsequently retrained as a Counsellor. I have counselled in a GP Surgery and worked with various Employee Assistance Schemes and Charitable Trusts alongside seeing private clients.

    Although I have done some freelance journalism and written four non-fiction books, creative writing has become my main focus in recent years.

    My poems have appeared online on sites including Amaryllis, Silver Birch Press, Clear Poetry, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Riggwelter and Ink,Sweat and Tears. I have been published in Curlew and Bucks Mill Magazine, and anthologised in Our Hearts Still Sing. My first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, came out in 2015.

    Read more about Julia
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