The Dreaded Purple Fork

We caught up with Philip who received a grant to publish his book of poems. In this story, Philip chats about what inspires his poetry and what led him to apply for an Opportunities Award.

Philip chuckles heartily to himself as he leafs through his own poetry book, reading the occasional line out loud. “Every one of these poems has some sort of meaning. Some of these I wrote in just a few minutes” he says, both proud and a bit embarrassed. He takes his time to re-read them, each one bringing a smile, a laugh or a memory. But he strongly rebuffs any suggestion of talent; “Anyone could, I just have the time.”

Hannah who works as a Welcomer at Barnwood, said: “It all began when Philip received a grant for a new carpet from Barnwood Trust. As a Welcomer, I popped in for a follow-up chat to find out whether we could help with anything else, and I recognised Philip’s poems from the poetry page of the local newspaper, written under the pen name The Dreaded Purple Fork.”

“Often, when I meet people for the first time and ask what their passions or interests are, they’re not sure,” says Hannah, “But Philip knew exactly what he enjoyed doing. That determination from him meant that I knew exactly what my role was – to help make it happen!”

Hannah worked alongside Philip to help him with his application for his Opportunities Award from Barnwood Trust, and with that funding together they approached The Choir Press in Gloucester. Printed copies of his poetry book were then sent to Philip, who circulated them to his friends and family, and the book is now sold digitally through Amazon.

Philip explains that he came across the drawing of a caped character when looking for images to go with his poems, and the alias The Dreaded Purple Fork stuck with him.

Philip’s main inspirations for his poems are the simple moments in life, such as the grass growing, a bird at the window, or a small phrase his wife says in passing: “They’re only small things really, but they make me think and laugh. I don’t know where it all comes from, it just comes to me.”

Another of Philip’s fascinations is the concept of time, a subject he has written many poems about: “If you think about it, tomorrow never comes. Tomorrow will become today eventually, but then there is another tomorrow – we will never actually get there. I live each day in the moment, I’m just glad to be alive.”

After a serious bicycle accident, Philip had to learn to talk again and he hasn’t taken any of it for granted since, he says: “Poetry is a way that I can easily get my words out, get my thoughts out and on to paper.”

Looking out the window, something catches his eye; “I can feel there’s a poem about that last leaf on the tree outside. Is he lucky, or is he lonely? I’ll have to write about that.”

Thoughts of a Broken Man can be found on Amazon here.

Related Grant: Opportunities Award

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