Polina's poems are in new collection
Arklow-based poet Polina Cosgrave has been writing poetry since she was a child.
'I wrote my first poem when I was six, but I really started to take writing seriously when I was 25,' she said.
Polina's work has been included in a new anthology 'Writing Home: The 'New Irish' Poets'. Published by Dedalus Press, the collection brings together more than 50 poets who explore the many meanings of home and celebrates the contribution of those whose roots lie outside of the country.
The experience of immigration, the loss of a culture and language and the process of gaining another, are among the themes explored in Polina's eight poems included in the collection.
'I went to a book launch a couple of months ago. Pat Boran [who co-edited the collection] told me about this anthology. I had been going to the new Irish Writing group at the Irish Writers Centre for writers who have English as a second language. I said I don't think my poems are good enough, but Pat encouraged me to submit.'
A former teacher with a MA in Creative Writing, Polina explained the process of writing in English, her second language, is different to that of writing Russian.
'As Russian is my native launguage, I see the whole poem before it's constructed. In English, I find I need more awareness of the logical structure of the poem and the emotion I want to convey. I'm trying to be universal in my work.'
Polina moved to Ireland around three years ago from Russia. She initially lived in Dublin before moving to Arklow a year ago.
'It's been a different experience living in Arklow because I'd always lived in big cities. Arklow is quieter and in a sense, slower. The people are so friendly and there's so much support in the community here,' she said.
The 200-page anthology features more than 50 poets whose places of origin include Angola, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Italy, India, Canada, Romania, Greece and Brazil. Individually, these writers bring new energy and perspectives to a subject that has long been a constant in writing from Ireland; collectively they provide readers with a fresh new portrait of a changing Ireland and, by extension, a changing world.
Honesty is crucial for poetry, according to Polina.
'For me, poetry needs to be honest. It's about the connection between people and social issues. While I write short stories in Russian, I find I'm not speaking it enough at the moment to write poetry as did previously.'
The poet is expecting a baby shortly and said she is unsure if she will return to Russia in the future.
'Every immigrant hopes to go back, however, the return doesn't really exist because the place you left is not an option anymore. With the ever-changing political situation in Russia, I don't know if I'll ever go back.'
For now, Polina is hoping to connect with other writers in Arklow.
'I've experience of the spoken word poetry scene in Dublin and I'd love connect with other poets in Arklow. They could contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org,' she added.
Poet Polina Cosgrave is one of the contributing poets featured in 'Writing Home: The 'New Irish' Poets', a major new anthology of writing from Ireland that acknowledges and celebrates the contribution of those whose roots lie outside of the country. The collection is available in all good bookstores or www.dedaluspress.com.