Student’s lockdown poetry published in new collection

Zoe Birch, HNC Professional Writing Skills student at City of Glasgow College, has had two poems published in a new anthology of stories and poems.

Stories from Home: An Anthology of Stories and Poems was developed as a charitable project for the Ambulance Staff Charity in recognition of their front line work since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“So strong with bountiful care but so frail in fundamental strength. As the years grow larger, his memory grows smaller.”

The line comes from Two Generations Ahead which is about her grandparents and extremely personal to Zoe.

“I felt it was not only a relatable poem but a reminder that our families are still there. Isolation isn't great for anyone but it has been necessary, especially for older generations. My interest in poetry was sparked by my gran from Troon who has written all her life. She’s a great inspiration,” explains Zoe

The 20 year old grew up in Kilmarnock and attended Grange Academy.  

“I actually struggled with English until the end of fourth year despite it being one of my favourite subjects. I was also studying drama and I think those two subjects merged which helped me. I looked at plays, scripts and books, and dabbled with my own short stories.”

Zoe’s interest became more serious during her time at City of Glasgow College.

“I saw the title, Creative Industries: Professional Writing Skills HNC, and I was sold. I wanted to improve my writing and develop my creative skills. I dreamt about going to university and applied consecutively for four years. After lots of rejections and tears, I found this course and can honestly say it’s changed my life,” said Zoe.

“The support from lecturers is second to none and every single person on my course was so passionate and dedicated.”

MJ Brocklebank is one of Zoe’s lecturers at City of Glasgow College, and said:

“Zoe's an engaged and enthusiastic student, making her a delight to have in class. I'm so pleased that she's had her two poems published in this collection, especially as it sees her work alongside so many established writers. Hopefully this is just the start of her writing career.”

The pandemic influenced Zoe’s published poems; Two Generations Ahead, along with YO-YO which is about attempting a diet during lockdown.

“The anthology was created to distract and fill people with delight in the midst of an uncertain time. To read a short story or funny poem instead of checking the latest grim statistics. With YO-YO, I wanted people to laugh and smile. Life is so short and in a time where we're wishing the days away, the least we can do is laugh.”

Zoe now has a conditional offer at the University of Strathclyde and is awaiting her results.

“I hope to stay involved within the creative industry, whether that’s in literature, publishing, theatre, film, or screen writing. I honestly don't know where I'll be this time next year. No-one does. The world is unpredictable, this year has proven that. We have to live and love like there is no tomorrow, because one day there won't be. So what’s my plan for the future? I don't have one.”

Stories from Homes: An Anthology of Stories and Poems has over 60 short stories and poems and includes work from award-winning bestsellers such as Louise Welsh and Zoe Strachan.