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12 Days of Artists: Sophie Mckeand

Sophie Out Spoken awards 2015
Posted by Kirsty


For our second day of the 12 days or artists THIS Project is proud to present the award winning Sophie Mckeand! Sophie is a huge supporter with Undegun and we have had the pleasure of working with her on a number of occasions, we have been very luck to work with someone who as much passion and enthusiasm for the arts in Wales.

Name: Sophie McKeand

Current Location:

Favourite place, and why?
Would it be sad to say north Wales? I’ve lived here most of my life and I’m still always amazed at how beautiful this country is. People travel thousands of miles to experience mountains, forests, castles and sea all together. Perhaps we get complacent because it’s on our doorstep. We’ve been ‘staycationing’ for the past few years and every ’trip’ has been great. I wrote a poem about that feeling of merging with the landscape, ‘Rainforest’ (incuded below). I’m not against flying abroad but I am trying to keep it to a minimum.

Favourite Reindeer?
Comet. Woooosh!

Describe your self in 5 words.
Creative. Determined. Pig-headed. Resourceful. Loyal.

What is your current practice and what have you been up to?
I work as a self-employed poet, writer & workshop facilitator. The new poetry pamphlet ‘Hanes’ is out now. It’s a hand-stitched original design, letterpress, limited edition piece available from my website shop here:
Also I’ve just won the Out Spoken prize for Innovation in Poetry. This is a good year! I also workshop for organisations such as Literature Wales, Arts Council Wales, National Theatre Wales, Age Cymru and Oriel Wrecsam etc…  and love this element to my work. I believe it’s important for artists to put our energies back into the community and this work also enriches the poetry whilst helping to pay the bills.

How long have you been a practising Poet for?
I quit my job as a field sales exec. over eleven years ago to study a Ba Hons in English Literature & Creative Writing- I haven’t looked back.

At what point in your life did you know you wanted to be an Poet?
See above. The degree sealed it. I realised I couldn’t be anything else. It’s taken eleven years of solid work but I think I’m getting to the point where I’m happy with the poems. Or maybe I’m now at the point where I’m just starting to create decent poetry. I always think that though. I’ll be saying the same thing in ten year’s time.

If you could buy your 10 year old self anything for Christmas what would it be?
I have absolutely no idea.

Is there anything in particular you are looking forward to this Christmas?
Yes. Very much looking forward to taking three weeks off work during which time I’ll see family and friends, write, cook, eat, drink wine… repeat to fade…

Have you got any plans for the New Year?
I’m still touring Hanes in Jan and Feb. I’m also working on the next poetry collection and a play as well as some things I can’t talk about yet for fear of jinxing them. I’m the Poet in Residence at Focus Wales festival in 2016 which is really exciting. I’m also working on a number of community writing projects with various groups from aged 8 to 108. 

If you could get anything for Christmas this year what would it be?
Honestly? I’ve got everything I could ever have dreamed. I love my life as a self-employed poet. I have a lovely home life with my partner Andy Garside and Kit the dog. Our kids-who-are-now-adults are both happy in their chosen lives and we see them as much as you might expect given that they’re 19 and 21. My family live close by (although I don’t see them as often as I should). I’ve got amazing friends.  All of this is a lot more than some people have. I don’t need anything else in my life. Except another award of course. I could always do with another award.


Snowdonia’s Celtic rain forest in Cwm Mynach (Monk’s Valley) has around 200 days of rain each year.

rainfall tears
blister on skin

persistent fingers
plough scars
worry at the ground
toss thoughts like stones

the landscape shifts
is reformed

and other times
old memories
are excavated
tribal roots
so deep I didn’t know they existed
so profound I couldn’t tell you their name

the rain falls relentless
washes clean
veins & roots
that shimmer like
the backs of dolphins
in darkness

and I can’t look away
can’t turn away
can’t go back

the rain falls
through the earth
and so do I

by Sophie McKeand

If you would like to follow Sophie on Twitter go to  or


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