I was born in the north of England then moved, as a newly married young thing, to British Columbia of which I knew very little at the time. It was planned as a two year adventure. Was it the excitement of living in the new world of northern BC where deep snow and, at times, minus 30 (or lower) temperatures were the norm for almost half the year or the delights of rediscovering spring in February with my move to Vancouver after six years? Whatever the reason, I became a Canadian citizen and made BC my home for 39 years.
In the spring of 2019, I retired from my lifelong career as a speech and language therapist and having moved on from my marriage eleven years before, upped and returned to Manchester (my first love) to help support my elderly mother. I am now making my home back in the city of my birth. When Covid-19 will allow, I will be making regular trips back to Vancouver, to be with my kids and my dear friends there.
Language and literature have always drawn me. The only subject at school I excelled in was English and writing poems and stories was part of my life as long as I can remember. In 1988, in what may have been an early mid-life crisis, perhaps searching for meaning in life, I began to pursue my dream of being a writer.
My first published poems were in literary magazines and many poems were published across Canada, some in the US and UK, from 1993 to 1998 when I joined the Creative Writing department at UBC to work on a Master of Fine Arts with a focus on poetry and a second track in creative non-fiction.
After graduation in 2000, I moved briefly into a new career as a freelance writer. I enjoyed writing for local newspapers and magazines with a focus on science and health writing which fit my background in health work. I landed a fruitful but short-lived collaboration with a medical news agency which took me across Canada and the States but ultimately I missed the work with families and children and returned to speech therapy. I saved my writing energy for poetry.
I write primarily about the people and places I encounter in daily life, often touching on universal stories or experiences my readers can relate to. Inspiration often comes as I walk. The voice recorder on my iPhone is my constant companion.
Pam’s first book of poetry Parallel Lines was published by Ekstasis Editions (Victoria) in 2006. It explored the distance between her adopted home in Canada and the old country with poems reaching back into family history.
She collaborated with four other poets on the book Quintet: Themes and Variations (Ekstasis Editions, 1996). This was the culmination of a fascinating experiment as five women wrote to themes. (See below)
In 1993 with a small baby in her arms, Pam was invited to join four Vancouver area women in a poetry venture they had started some time before. Eileen Kernaghan, Jean Mallinson, Sue Nevill and Clelie Rich were all poets with considerable accomplishments and Pam, who was just beginning to get acceptances from magazines, was both thrilled and terrified. It was a project too enticing to turn down. In the days when many writers were still using typewriters or at best, a very basic word processor, the women were exchanging ideas for poems and then the poems themselves by what we now call “snail-mail”. Then, it was all they had. Every two weeks one member would come up with a word or phrase, send it to the others who would write a poem incorporating those words or a closely associated idea. Critiques were shared courtesy of Canada Post. Eventually the group adopted the name “Quintet”, began to perform poems throughout the Lower Mainland of BC at poetry readings and in 1996 their book Quintet – Themes and Variations was published.
Quintet was the most public of Pam’s collaborations with other poets but others followed. She joined the Vancouver group Compossibles, founded by poet Sandy Shreve, which met on each solstice and equinox to discuss and share the poems of a poet, classical or contemporary with the goal of broadening knowledge of world poets.
Currently, Pam is part of the small and private poetry group, P6 Poets Heidi Greco, Tana Runyan, Cathy Stonehouse, Leslie Timmins and Pam meet in support of each other’s writing, providing critiques and editing and mutual support.