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Ian Harker: My inspiration for the Inspiring Futures Poetry Anthology

Posted by. Leeds Trinity University
Posted on 10 April 2017

blogs, blogs:Alumni

​In March 2017, a poetry anthology entitled 'Inspiring Futures' was launched to commemorate Leeds Trinity University's 50th Anniversary, featuring contributions from University staff, students and alumni.

Alumnus Ian Harker, who graduated in 2005 with a BA in Communication and Cultural Studies, shares the inspiration behind his poem, The Fresher's Guide to Yoga Poses.

I wrote my first poem in my room in Jervaulx Hall in October 2002. It was awful. I went on to write a lot more awful poems, eventually coming to realise that if you want to write good poems, you have to write a lot of bad ones first. Just as there are said to be fifteen dead people to every one person now living, so every half-decent poem has to stand on the shoulders of a lot of failures (probably more than fifteen).

I'd been reading poems since my early teens, but (apart from the odd break-up poem) I'd never written a line until I arrived at TASC. This was partly practical: no TV in my room. But I also put it down to the atmosphere of those first few weeks, which is what I've tried to capture in the poem that features in the anthology. People thrown together from the four corners ("a dogfight of accents") were sharing in something very precious and completely misguided: a feeling that we were the first to do any of this.

Why 'yoga poses'? Not really sure, except that, for me, it sums up how mercurial my sense of self was then. We're always different things to different people, but never more so than in Freshers' Week. I was a shape-shifter: a Marxist one-minute and a postmodern the next. I was trying things out, working out who I was, who I wanted to be. The chance to do that is a debt that I can never repay.

Read Ian's poem and others from the collection in our Inspiring Futures anthology which can be purchased for £7.99 through Indigo Dreams Publishing.