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Suffolk in prose as poet publishes first collection inspired by county

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 March 2019

Peter Watkins and his poetry collection, Enough to Love a Multitude: Poems for the Spirit in Dispiriting Times Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Peter Watkins and his poetry collection, Enough to Love a Multitude: Poems for the Spirit in Dispiriting Times Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

CHARLOTTE BOND

A Suffolk poet has published his first collection, inspired by the county's beautiful landscape and mental health.

A Suffolk poet has published his first collection, inspired by the county’s beautiful landscape and mental health.

Peter Watkins, is a retired psychiatric nurse living in Harkstead who’s experience of the Suffolk landscape and reflections on his life have culminated in his latest poetry book, Enough To Love A Multitude: Poems for the Spirit in Dispiriting Times.

The book was published with local publishing house Eye Wild Books in November 2018, from their studio base on the estuary of the River Stour.

Through his career, Mr Watkins has seen the therapeutic effects of finding an expression for emotions and has found, in poetry, a creative form for the expression of his own.

Mr Watkins said: “While I was working most of my creative energy went into writing professional books about mental health. I’ve been writing poetry on and off all my life but more seriously since I retired.

“What is interesting to me is how this collection has come together over three or four years, as if it was waiting to be written.

“Maybe there was a backlog of personal experience I needed to explore - poetry certainly can be a consolation and help us rise above the adversities and sorrows of life.

“It’s interesting how often we reach for a poem at difficult times and find comfort in it.”

Living close to the River Stour has had a big influence on Mr Watkins’ writing, he said: “The local landscape, including the river slips into the poems quite often.”

Mr Watkins continued: “That’s not surprising as I love the Suffolk landscape where I’ve lived all my life and I connect with it in a deeply personal way - it is part of me.”

Mr Watkins is also the co-founder of Inside Out Community, a creative mental health charity working in Suffolk.

Their work centres on mental health support through creativity, giving people the opportunity to express themselves through music, theatre, multiple mediums of art and creative writing.

“I’m still very involved in the creative writing strand of the work that Inside Out does,” he said.

“I would unreservedly recommend writing poetry and other forms of creative writing to everyone - not with any intention of publishing it, but for its own sake.

“Poetry can be healing. Poetry can be life enriching.”

Find out more about Inside Out on their website.

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