Over the last month we’ve been sharing a weekly guest post from one of the young creatives supported by our Young Artists Development Programme. This week’s spotlight is on poet Helena Ascough. So over to you, Helena:
Poetry is a huge love of mine. I don’t even know why or how I started writing poems. Sonnets and metaphors must run through my blood. I found some old ones a couple of weeks ago that I wrote when I was 10. They were about feeling like an outsider… and my dog Ramsay.
It was my tutor at Uni who told me to do it professionally. She heard me at an open mic night, and I have been ‘rising’ ever since. Being paid to read, make, and perform poetry is the best feeling in the world. To me, reciting poetry is the equivalent of flying.
‘Rising’ is a set of poems about feeling different and overcoming disability. It’s for anyone and everyone who feels different, who’s been told that they cannot do things. I have a visual impairment called Nystagmus. I was born with it, and it means I have no peripheral vision and my eyes shake slightly. The only thing I cannot legally do is drive. The End.
Yet strangers, teachers, leaders have often told me there are things I cannot do. Sometimes it feels like I’m permanently banging my head against a brick wall. It took me until now, at the age of 22 (I’m so wise for my age aren’t I!) to think perhaps I should climb over that wall and see what’s on the other side.
My work is fun, heartfelt, and funny. I love the way poetry allows you to feel emotions and experience a new story within a couple of minutes.
I hope my poems help you to celebrate what makes you unique.
I hope together we can rise against discrimination. To all my fellow artists and disabled folk, keep rising! Aim for the sky!
Listen to Helena read her set of four new poems – Rising. A transcript of this is available here
Thanks to Helena for sharing this inspiring work. Look out for more work and writing from YADP artists next week.