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Violet's verse bring pleasure to borrowers 18 October 2010

POEMS penned by a Douglas octogenarian are reawakening memories for members of the Department of Education and Children’s Mobile Library.

Violet Corlett has published two volumes of poetry and has gifted copies to the library, which provides a lifeline for rural book-borrowers Island-wide. Violet Corlett

The first, Shades of Violet, covers topics as wide-ranging as Douglas in yesteryear, trips out, family pets and innocent courtships. The second, Me, Wee Jock and Ellie, describes in longer verse the adventures of the imaginary Ellie Kelly and her Scottie dog Jock.

The books are already going down a treat with library members, explained librarian Sandra Henderson. ‘Many of our members like poetry and have enjoyed reading these, especially as the second volume is pertinent to the Isle of Man. They will now be accessible to people across the Island thanks to Violet’s generosity.’

Violet, 82, of Saddle Road, was born and brought up in Douglas, attending Tynwald Street School until the age of 14 and going on to work in a newsagent and then a laundry, where she met her husband Allan, and later Braddan School for 19 years.

While she loved writing at school, she didn’t turn her hand to poetry until she was prompted by nature one day as an adult.

‘I was sitting in the garden, as we were about to go shopping, and I was writing my grocery list,’ she said. ‘Allan used to grow the most beautiful dahlias and I was watching the Red Admirals flitting between them and I wrote a poem called Butterfly.’

Hundreds more poems followed, inspired by the sights and sounds around her, but, although she has a folder that’s inches thick containing acceptance letters from publishers of poetry anthologies, Violet had no desire to create her own compilation.

The sheets of beautifully hand-written verse were yellowing with age when Violet’s granddaughter Hayley persuaded her to publish her first volume last year.

They kept the project secret, Hayley typing out the 400 pages in her spare time. When they handed the resulting book to Violet’s son and Hayley’s father Ian last Christmas, he was speechless with surprise.

Shades of Violet is dedicated to Hayley, while the book that followed this year, with talented artist Violet’s artwork on the cover, is dedicated to sons Ian and Keith and daughter-in-law Helen.

Volume three, containing religious poems and with Violet’s artwork again prominent, is en route to the printers and, as the ideas and the verse continue to flow freely, she is well on the way to having enough material for volume four.

Sadly, Allan Corlett didn’t live to see Violet’s books published. He died 18 years ago after more than 40 years of marriage. But Violet says he would be proud to see her name in print. S

he admits it’s a ‘strange old feeling’ to see her poems published and to know they are being read and enjoyed by others, but said:

‘It was a case of either do it or be a coward and have them tied up in an attic.’

For more details about the Mobile Library, which visits locations fortnightly, ring 01624 673123 or visit http://www.gov.im/education/support/external/external_library.xml

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