Interview | On the Subject of Letters ― An Anthology.

Credit: Trelawney Thompson

by Shelly Mccatty

A talented student has secured a publishing deal for her first book of poetry, entitled Letters, which will be available from Gloucester and Cheltenham bookstores and libraries, as well as digitally, from Monday 30 May.

Described as a “collected assortment of voyages that form into a single story of dealing with the twists, turns, turmoil and thought-provoking moments in life”, the book has been written by  Tammy Louise Wilkins, who is currently studying English Literature, Philosophy, and Photography.

An avid blogger, Tammy has been documenting the triumphs and falls of life as a student with a long-term illness for four years now, and this is where her poetry first surfaced prior to being formally published as an anthology. She has always had a passion for poetry, and cites Dante and Shakespeare as influences.
She explains: “One of the first books I read was Dante’s famous Inferno, which enthralled me and conjured many thoughts I would never have. But it was Shakespeare’s sonnets musing about love and my diagnosis with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2011 that was the catalyst for me to begin writing. I was driven to pursue writing poetry as I feared that my debilitation would lead to me never being able to continue with life semi-normally, as I do now.”
She says that her course and lecturers have helped her become more confident: “Studying English Literature has greatly aided me in becoming more confident as a writer in general. Dissecting the elements of structure within literature and developing a grasp on narrative voice and literary theory have particularly helped me to feel confident with literary and language devices that ultimately bettered my way of personal expression in my poetry.
“I am incredibly lucky to have two wonderful lecturers who make it a priority to be available for all students, be it for academic or personal discussions.”
Letters is a collection of poetry spanning 2012 to 2015 which explore loss, heartbreak, redemption and unconditional hope for a better future. Tammy’s raw, cut-throat verse provides a fresh perspective of the perils in life and thoughts not often indulged, while her occasional sensual compositions explain a softer side to the sharp edge of her other works.
Tammy added: “The greatest challenge of writing is and always has been my illness. I began writing initially to provide myself an escape from the stresses that accompany the illness by actually expressing that stress in verse.
“However, there have been many challenges in other personal areas that made writing increasingly therapeutic. Life can become very complicated and overwhelming, I found that writing poetry offloaded the weight of that. To this day, I still don’t have a complete balance with studying, working, and trying to maintain a steady tranquility with my illness. I’ll find that illusive balance one day.”
Once she has successfully completed her course, Tammy aims to progress into teaching either literature or philosophy at university level.
Dominique Toyra, one of Tammy's lecturers, said: “I have had the pleasure of teaching Tammy English for two years now and she approaches her studies like life, with enthusiasm and gusto.
“She has recently submitted her final coursework exploring the work of Shakespeare and Christina Rossetti; her research was extensive and inspiring, and demonstrates how dedicated Tammy is to her studies. She always gives her best, whether it is mastering linguistic features or preparing a text for discussion with her peers.
“We are all extremely proud of Tammy here; her coursework for Photography is inspirational and exhibits the fusion of her love for literature and art. This book of poetry is exciting and an extension of how Tammy views the world around her; this will not be the last time we will hear from this young lady!”
Tammy also has a photographic novel in the pipeline but can’t say too much about this just yet…
Get your copy of Letters here:


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