Dyslexia and Poetry with Helen Kay

A few people know I was registered with Diabetes in August 2011, which is a story for another day over the impact it caused over both my health and my lifestyle, but what is less known is the fact I am also Dyspraxic.

While Diabetes I feel over the last few years has gained the awareness it deserves, less is know about both Dyspraxic and its close cousin Dyslexia.

In my case, I first got registered as suffering from it all the back in 2000, and it has to be said when I got told this at university, my reaction to was like ‘What?’ and it took years for certain members of my own family to accept this, let alone understand it.

After university, although I have seen the occasional project be mentioned which is perfect for people with dyslexia and dyspraxia, today’s feature on dyslexiapoetry which is described as a platform for dyslexic poets and artists is the first I have seen that directly covers this topic.

Helen Kay, a dear friend of my Podcast series ‘Spoken Label’ describes the history of this further by starting “In 2018 Dyslexia Poetry Imagination (DPI) was formed by a group of people living with or working with dyslexia. DPI aimed to raise awareness of the importance of creativity to develop confidence and create a positive link with dyslexia. Research has found that on balance dyslexic people are more creative with an ability to think differently. “

“In 2018-2019 the DPI team organised an exhibition of artwork, video poems, needlework and poetry by neuro-atypical creators, which was toured to different venues. (fb page Dyslexia and Poetry).” She carries on explaining bringing back my own memories of the said exhibition at Manchester Central Libary which was simply a wonderful experience “Based on the success of the tour, DPI has also run live poetry evenings and a college-based competition and has taken part in a range of dyslexia and dyspraxia-based events. The project, which aims to attract at all stages of their writing has been supported throughout by award-winning poet, Mark Pajak. One of the founder members of DPI, Helen Kay, has supported dyslexic learners for 20 years and has written a pamphlet of poems about her experiences entitled This Lexia & Other Languages (v.press). “

“The group is particularly keen to encourage and support neuro-divergent adults and to celebrate their creative strengths. Often people feel supported and encouraged to create while in education, but there is less support for adults, especially when it comes to developing skills outside those required to survive within the work place.” She discusses next which mirrored the problems I had with a ex employer I worked for some years before “Many older adults have not had any support and even remain unaware that they are dyslexic. Many have experienced stress, humiliation and discrimination both in education and outside of it. “

“In March 2021, despite the constraint of the pandemic, the DPI members were thrilled to launch its own website, dyslexiapoetry.co.uk. “ She brings the story up to date “Designed by martynbristow.co.uk, the aim of the site is to showcase dyslexic poets and to share their achievements. The site will post one poem a month plus photos and profiles of artists and other creators. The site is particularly interested in capturing poems which reflect the diverse experiences of dyslexia dyspraxia and other co-occurring neuro-atypical conditions. “

“DPI would love to hear from anyone who would like to be involved and/or wants to share their experiences. “ She concludes “Poems, flash fiction artwork images and details of other similar projects. Please contact us via the website or directly to [email protected] or via Dyslexia and Poetry on facebook. We look forward to contributions, constructive feedback, sharing of experiences and other projects that raise awareness and ideas of how to develop the project. “

Their website which I recommend you check out is: dyslexiapoetry.co.uk    

Andy N is the author of four full length poetry collections - the most recent being the Streets were all we could see. He is also the host / creator of 'Spoken Label' - a author / writer chat series as well as Podcast series such as Reading in Bed, Comics Unity, Wrestle-Up and the Koll, Andy N and Amanda show. He also ambient music under the name of Ocean in a Bottle. His official blog is onewriterandhispc.blogspot.com Occasionally he does sleep.