Poet, writer and musician Jackie Morrey-Grace has published her first poetry collection, There are Worse Places to Hide than Inside Secrets.
The three-times Manx Poetry Slam winner originally set out to compile 60 of her performance pieces for safe-keeping but the book soon took on greater meaning as the project developed.
She told Island Life: ‘I memorise everything but have written so many poems I was beginning to forget them, which felt reckless.
‘Inevitably, the project gathered momentum. As I collated the pieces and arranged them in the book, themes emerged of movement and freedom; how much I value these and how writing and performing poetry have helped me find them.
‘As the book developed though, I found the true theme was empowerment.’
Jackie said writing and performing poetry have helped her with a ‘difficult relationship with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis’.
She is using the book to raise awareness of Without Wings, the Manx Autoimmune Arthritis Trust. Its services include free counselling for people affected by these conditions.
The reader is guided through the sections of the book by Jackie’s inky Anabelle illustrations.
Beginning with a small selection of more explosive, harder-hitting poems about her experience of incapacitating illness, she takes the reader on a much deeper journey - the true ‘Secret Hiding Places of the Perpetually Sick,’ where solitude and imagination provide the perfect environment for creativity and where creativity finds mischief, wonder and ultimately, power.
As Jackie writes to perform, the book is packed with QR codes to performance pieces, recordings and collaborations.
It also contains all three of her Manx Poetry Slam winning poems as well as her micro-play, ‘Mesmer’, which she describes as her homage to the amazing character that was Dr Alexander Cannon, the Manx Magi.
The book ends with an essay and QR link to her poem about AI, ‘Drop the A,’ which centres on the changing face of writing in 2023 and why she hopes her tale of empowering creativity in the face of challenge inspires us all to continue to value and support human art.
There are Worse Places to Hide than Inside Secrets is Jackie’s third poetry publication, following on from self-contained stories On Ravensdale Hill and Asila’s Song.
Jackie thanked the Isle of Man Arts Council for its support.
Copies (£10) are available from Bridge Bookshop, in Ramsey and Port Erin, or from her website www.jackiemorreygrace.weebly.com