Waste Land Revisited : Claire will be reading on Performance Day, 11th June 2022
Claire Coleman was born in Malaysia and has been moving west ever since, now settled in Somerset on the edge of an ex-coal mining town. An Equity member, for over 20 years she worked in circus and cabaret and travelled internationally as a street performer. She was initially a teacher in Wiltshire Primary schools, and then decades and several qualifications later, a college teacher of adults with learning disabilities, a community tutor, and a BANES Council youth worker. She currently works for SWALLOW, a local charity supporting people with learning disabilities to lead their lives with fulfilment. She has always gardened, sometimes for money.
Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies, including several issues of Reach and Sarasvati, Poetry Space showcases, South, The Book of Love and Loss, Locked Down and most recently Spelt in February 2022. She was shortlisted in the 2017 National Memory Day competition and commended in the 2018 Poetry Space competition. For several years she has been a Literature Works poet for Memory Cafes. This supports volunteers, carers, and attendees with memory loss to enjoy listening to poetry, sharing what this evokes, and then facilitating the writing of a collaborative poem of their own.
She has been attending Sue Boyle’s workshops in their various guises, and reading her poetry at many events, for over 10 years. In 2019 this included a set titled i.m. Youth Work 2008-2018 after funding cuts made her redundant. She belongs to Knucklebone poets, a group of 8 poets which grew out of an original group mentored by Sue, and which has continued for many years to thrive and support each other.