Ann Grant is a writer with multiple sclerosis (MS). She lives in Kendal with her partner and their Border Collie, Barbara, and her poems have been included in The Poeming Pigeon, This Place I Know by Handstand Press, Survivor UK Zine CSA issue and Ink, Sweat & Tears. Ann leads creative writing workshops and writes song lyrics, but is best known as a performance poet, hosting the Brewery Arts’ monthly Verbalise spoken word events

I try to do some writing every day, assuming I feel up to it and have the time as I also work part-time at Brewery Arts and do arts admin work for Boom Dang in Barrow. My favourite days are when I’m running a writing workshop or collaborating with other artists. It’s all about balance.

Great British Life: A blackout poem by Ann GrantA blackout poem by Ann Grant (Image: Ann Grant)

I mainly write poetry, as well as songs for my band Baa Chords – we perform regularly at 98 Highgate in Kendal – but I’ve also written monologues and scripts. I was mostly creating for live performance but now am most interested in exploring different forms, writing in response to other artists and delivering workshops for wellbeing.

I really enjoyed working at Signal Film and Media in Barrow recently, at the Artfly Relax into 2050 exhibition there. I delivered three workshops with a group, responding to the exhibition and culminating in a wonderful poetry sharing. I’m always delighted when I get work published, but collaborating with other people is what I love best of all.

Great British Life: Ann's poetry is included in the This Place I Know anthologyAnn's poetry is included in the This Place I Know anthology (Image: Ann Grant)

I get a buzz from being in front of an audience. I even got to interview Lemn Sissay at Brewery Arts a few years ago. Living with MS means I can’t predict when I’m going to have a flare up and suddenly be unavailable, but I’m lucky to work with understanding people and have a great support network, and have learned to pace myself.

I plan each day to include creativity, work, exercise and chill out time. Exercise includes The MS Gym – an exercise programme to help the brain and limbs find new neuro-pathways – along with regular focused breathing and taking Barbara out for walks. Then there’s weekly band practice, and catching up with friends is important too.

Great British Life: Ann is working on the Turning the Tide project, in Barrow, this yearAnn is working on the Turning the Tide project, in Barrow, this year (Image: ArtWork)

Verbalise, the Boom Dang music project and Baa Chords will all keep me busy this year and I’m also excited to be working in Barrow with Sharon Tait and ArtWorks on the Turning the Tide project. I’ll be creating poems and letters to the sea on paper that groups have made. There’ll be an exhibition, and then we’ll send them out to the sea.

I’ve been writing ‘blackout poetry’: drawing around a circular template on a newspaper or magazine and then blacking out words I don’t want. The words left are the poem. Various themes are emerging – place, poverty, fashion and food – although it’s early in the process at the moment. I plan to make these into a show, possibly in collaboration with a film-maker and artists.

X: @annthepoet

FB: ann.wilson.1884

Verbalise is on the last Saturday of the month at Brewery Arts,