Poet Jenny proves she’s made of the write stuff

A MORPETH writer could soon see a whole book dedicated to her poetry after her work was published in several anthologies.

Jenny Wallum MBE, who writes under her maiden name Jennifer Gordon-Russell, is already a successful author, having published short stories, newspaper articles and song lyrics for hymns in the Philippines.

However, her first love was poetry and now that too is coming to prominence.

Mrs Wallum’s poem The Country Lane, about an old track in Stannington that she used to walk along with her father, has been published in the National Poetry Anthology 2011 after it was chosen from more than 10,000 entries.

And so impressed was publisher United Press that it took another of the poet’s three submitted pieces, Realisation, written during Mrs Wallum’s time in Iran, to feature in its Book of Dreams.

A further piece has been selected for What is Love? and now the poet has been promised a whole book to feature a collection of her work.

“It started when I was reading a newspaper and there was a small piece inside about submitting entries to the anthology,” said Mrs Wallum.

“I didn’t have my poetry book with me, but I did it from memory and sent three poems in.

“They chose one and asked if they could publish another in a different book.

“Now I have been asked to be a showcase poet and to send a whole lot of other poems in for a book.”

Mrs Wallum says she has been inspired by many great poets and writers, but her favourite poem is The Land of Nod by Robert Louis Stevenson.

She tries to make her own pieces accessible to a broad range of readers, but says her poems come naturally, rather than from a deliberate focus on a particular subject.

“I have been interested in poetry since I was a little girl, but it was only in the early 1970s that I started to gather my poems together instead of losing them,” she said.

“Fortunately, my mother had saved some of my children’s poems so I still have some of those.

“I don’t plan my poems. They just come into my head and if I don’t write them down immediately they are lost forever.

“I can’t talk to anybody until I write them down.”

She added: “I always feel I don’t make my poems, they are born. I will just think of something for no reason at all. I sometimes feel ‘why don’t I write about that?’, but it just doesn’t come that way.

“I try to communicate with all ages through my poems. Some of them are heavy, but I try to make them so that they can be as light or as heavy as you want them to be, and I always try to give hope through my writing.”

Mrs Wallum hopes to call her collection Moments To Share, but she has not been told when the book will be published.

However, she has plenty to keep her occupied in the meantime through her charity, Entrepreneur Volunteer Assistance (EVA).

She set up the organisation to support livelihood projects for people living in extreme conditions in the Philippines following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

The charity, which has received substantial support from the Morpeth community, provides equipment, training, loans and scholarships and is involved in building schools, planting trees and promoting literacy.