Throughout March we asked you, our amazing Autumn Voices community to submit flash entries on the topic of d/Deafness. We received a number of lovely pieces and made the tough decision of picking a winning entry. We’re thrilled to announce the winner is Wendy Webb. Wendy wins a copy each of Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Sentence courtesy of Faber & Faber and David Lodge’s Deaf Sentence courtesy of Penguin Random House for her winning poem, ‘I’m Not Really. Well, Maybe A Little’.
Wendy Webb was born in the Midlands and later found her home and family life in Norfolk.
She edited Star Tips poetry magazine from 2001 to 2021 and has been published in several small press magazines (Reach, Quantum Leap, Envoi, Seventh Quarry). Wendy was placed First in Writing Magazine’s pantoum poetry competition and she enjoys devising new poetry forms (Davidian, Magi, etc).
She wrote her father’s biography, Bevin Boy, shortly before his death. She then wrote her own memoir about being a poet.
Wendy reads extensively – from Chaucer to modern-day poets – and is inspired to write in many traditional forms as well as free verse. Her favourite poets, in no particular order, are Dylan Thomas, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Sophie Hannah, John Burnside, John Betjeman, the Romantic Poets (especially Wordsworth), George Herbert, William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Mary Webb, Norman Bissett, William Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Oh, and Bob Dylan, James Blunt, Leonard Cohen and Katie Melua.
She has recently tried online outlets for her work (including Littoral Magazine, and Meek Colin) and has enjoyed the CLANGERS challenges on Autumn Voices. She’s a keen gardener and rides an electric trike – with dodgy knees and dodgy hearing! Isn’t life fun?
I’m Not Really. Well, Maybe A Little
I'm not deaf I wasn't born deaf. Deaf people are, well, deaf. But that's not me, I was born hearing, seeing, thinking, walking. Full compliment. Except, age creaks up on you. No, not you, me, except, it happens to other people. Right? Because I'm not deaf, I can hear. What was that you said? People talk so quietly now. Ow! Don't shout. I'm not... Except, please face me when you speak. Slow down, just a little. Face masks are a no-no. I can't lip read. Except, seeing does help. Perhaps we all lip read a little. Subtitles. What, on TV? But I'm not deaf, I'm really not... Except, they speak so soft, change volumes with each report. Adverts are deafening. Action too. But dramatic moments are whispered, poignant. You can see it in the eyes. Except, why are they whispering. I missed that. I agreed? I did? But, when did you say that... you did? How could I agree when I didn't hear? Deaf? Not me. Old? Definitely not. Just creaking in the joints a little. And - you could say - I'm just a tad hard of hearing. What? I don't look too young? Only hear what I want to... Fabulous, that glass of red and chocs. Just perfect. I heard every word, John. Tom? Well, why did you say John then...
Thank you to all the entrants of the March flash competition, we loved reading each and every one of them. Details of the next one are below!
Our monthly flash theme for May is Walking or Chronic Illness
In May we celebrate National Walking Month with some blogs from keen walkers and ramblers aged 60+, accompanied, hopefully, by some of their photos. We also honour World MS Day with a blog focused on multiple sclerosis and looking generally at how chronic illness and creativity intersect. We would love to read your flash submissions in honour of either or both of these themes. Would you like to tell us something about your experience of being an older person who loves to hillwalk or ramble? Are you an older person managing a chronic illness which has had either a positive or adverse impact on your creativity? Send us your flash submissions!
Entries will be accepted until midnight on May 31st and flash submissions can take the form of a poem, short story or flash memoir. The winning entry will be chosen by the Autumn Voices staff team and the winner will receive the books Walking For Creative Recovery, by Christina Reading and Jess Moriarty and Piranesi by Susanna Clarke.