A lifetime of poetry in print

PUTTING pen to paper has never been a problem for 88-year-old poet Joyce Barton - though, until recently, getting her works published was another matter.

PUTTING pen to paper has never been a problem for 88-year-old poet Joyce Barton - though, until recently, getting her works published was another matter.

Now, after more than half a century of writing, the former teacher's poetry is finally going to print.

But, as part of the deal with the publishers, she agreed to distribute copies of Dance Through The Century to booksellers around Suffolk herself.

That has meant her hopping into the car to deliver the book to outlets as far afield as Southwold and Woodbridge, as well as nearer her home town of Beccles.


You may also want to watch:


Mrs Barton is sure that the effort is all worthwhile to make sure her work, written over 60 years, is preserved for the future.

"I am at an advanced age and, if I die, the whole batch of my poetry could just get thrown away," she chuckled.

Most Read

So, last year she contacted publishers across the region to see if they would produce a book of her poems.

"Most said they didn't do poetry as it didn't pay," she said.

Eventually, Mousehold Press, in Norwich, took up her idea.

Initially, she is having only 150 of the books printed, and more than 30 of those have been given as presents to friends and family.

But Mrs Barton is hoping that the poetry, which reflects her life through the ages, will have a wider appeal.

She was born on a Suffolk farm in 1915 and grew up with an abiding love of the countryside.

She trained to be a teacher at Norwich Training College and taught in schools in the county before her marriage during the second world war and the birth of her son.

After the war, she went with her husband to East Africa, where she taught in a variety of schools.

In 1965, she returned to Suffolk, still teaching, and about 10 years ago, after the death of her husband, moved to Ringsfield Road, Beccles, to be nearer her married daughter, Faith.

"I started writing poetry in my 20s," she said.

"It was just a love of words. My mother was steeped in the Bible and Shakespeare, and I suppose that is where it came from."

Her poems were always prompted by particular events or strong feelings and cover everything from her emotions as a young woman to thoughts on subjects as diverse as Castle Mall, in Norwich, and the Kosovo Civil War.

n Dance Through The Century (A Suffolk Life) is published by Mousehold Press and available from the Gazette Bookshop, in Beccles, and other Suffolk outlets, price £3.50.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus