Published by The Emma Press, who were shortlisted for the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlet Publishers last year, Alma draws from her own experiences to thread the truth into her poems, and does so with pride.
Deborah Alma’s poetry pamphlet ‘True Tales of the Countryside’, published this year by The Emma Press, has been praised for its unique combination of openness and intimacy; it is at once startling, revelatory, and familiar, blunt in its approach, but tender in delivery. Deborah is also known for her work as the Emergency Poet, offering a sort of prescription service where poems serve as anecdotes for various ailments, ranging from physical sickness to heartbreak and loss. For her work as Emergency Poet, she travels in a 1970s ambulance, and is hailed as ‘the world’s first and only mobile poetic first aid service’. In 2014, Deborah was awarded a TLC Free Read bursary for her poetry, and was assigned to TLC editor Sibyl Ruth. She has kindly shared some words here about her experience with TLC, and her journey to publication:
“I love to write; I love the process of writing….the pen, the notebook, the playfulness of ideas. I have worked for a publisher for years, been a bookseller, and am a confident reader. I have not been a confident writer.
I have long been trapped in the wide chasm between my own writing and that of the published writings of others. I am terrible at looking at my own work objectively. I did a creative writing MA, and then, as part of Writing West Midlands’ Room 204 scheme, was offered the opportunity to apply to TLC’s Free Read scheme. With detailed and constructive feedback and support from the poet Sibyl Ruth for TLC, I put together a few poems and sent them off to The Emma Press, after doing my research for a likely match for my work. I was delighted to be accepted for publication by them.
TLC has been a huge part in my developing confidence as a writer. I am enormously grateful!”
Deborah Alma was born in North London. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Keele University, teaches at the University of Worcester and works with people with dementia and at the end of their lives using poetry. She teaches creative writing and is also Emergency Poet in her 1970s ambulance. She is the editor of The Emergency Poet: An Anti-Stress Poetry Anthology (Michael O’Mara Books, 2015). She is half-Indian and lives in Powys.
Deborah’s pamphlet is available to buy direct from The Emma Press here.