Over the five years that I  have been engaged with all things Cambodian, I  have written two novels set there, started to research a third, taught a couple of hundred students, raised money and awareness. I now joke that it seems I work in Cambodia although I live in London. But the one aspect of my work which has largely been missing is the writing of poetry about Cambodia.
Cambodia has been endlessly inspiring for me. But for some reason that inspiration hasn’t poured over into the writing of poetry…until now. Something clicked in me this trip. I remember it very clearly. I was sitting in a tuk tuk with my friend and Writing Through volunteer, Lucia, after visiting the floating village on the great Tonle Sap Lake. Lucia is a poet, too, and we were talking about inspiration — not so much its cause but its effect. And just like that, something shifted. Instead of only seeing stories all around me — the stories which evolve into novels — I began to see moments and images — the stuff of poetry. Since then I’ve written four poems and have a list of others in my head waiting to be written. And I have the idea for a new collection. It’s taken five years for me to hear that click in my head, to feel that shift. Now that I’ve been home for a few days, that shift is still with me. I’m looking forward to seeing what it brings.IMG_0592