Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Yvonne Ugarte

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.


Yvonne Ugarte

I am 59 years young and work part time in a local primary school. I am a performance poet and do quite a lot of the open mic sessions in and around Leeds. I have also headlined twice …one in Pudsey and one in Wakefield.

I am one of the ‘four environmental poets’ who have performed in the Piece Hall in Halifax and also, earlier this month, in Harrogate. Been in several anthologies.

I’ve been on radio several times and am due to go on Drystone Radio in February with the host David Driver.

Plus I do main events in narrative verse for the school I work in
E.g. Fire of London and The Plague ..Plus the odd bit of ventriloquism.

‘Our journey with Emil’ was a community project from earlier this year 2018 with regards to Life, Loss, Learning and Legacy. It is about our personal journey with our son who passed away just before his second birthday. His dad..my ex husband..had never cried since we first lost him in 1998 .

At the end of the video I recite a poem that I wrote in Martin House Children’s Hospice where we were after he’d passed away.
They must’ve been HIS words, telling me that he was okay as there is absolutely no way..in the grief stricken state I was in..that I could have composed something as beautiful as it is.
One thing I do know is that love lives beyond goodbye.

The Interview

1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

I wrote my first poem at the age of five. I love words….I was brought up in care so this was a way of expressing what I was feeling.

Still use words for that reason now lol.
2. Who introduced you to poetry at age five?

Nobody. Just put words together…It was about a pixie. Lol

Little Pixie..Little pixie
Playing in the grass
The morning dew must seem to you a magic looking glass

3. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

I went to a grammar school where English literature piqued by interest in poetry. Wordsworth…Keats..­.Byron etc. Later, I immersed myself in the works of Oscar Wilde.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

If I feel it, I write it. Sometimes getting up at 4am to scribble something down !

4.1 What makes you feel it?

Emotion. Anger…sadness…de­spair…


4.2 At what?

Loss and pain …I lost my little boy to meningitis.
Anger and sadness..went to Auschwitz and Birkenau earlier this year. Despair and hope for the plight of our planet..the incredible creatures we share it with and the plastic pollution that’s choking our world Joy at hearing a birdsong..or see the buds of promise on the trees when Spring appears

5. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

Their words ignited a spark inside me…I felt their passion and emotions. I do not write in the same way as any of them but I’m sure I was I influenced greatly by them over the years since my craft was developing.

Also, I was encouraged to take my writing further by my former English teacher when I was only fifteen. She saw something in my words.

5.1 Oscar Wilde, particularly?

Definitely…his wit and quotes are legendary, even used by many today. His stories and poetry have never been rivalled in my opinion.

5.2 How do you reckon he’s influenced you today?

I do try to put wit into some of my writing…he was not afraid to step.out of the box when it came to his use of words and I like to think i do likewise. He was a literary genius who was greatly maligned. He famously said EACH MAN KILLS THE THING HE LOVES but it was love that killed him. The Ballad of Reading Jail says it all.

6. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Kate Tempest
Kevin Gilday
Phil Pearce
Too many to name!

6.1 What do those three bring to you?

Grit. Reality. Human angle. Humour and anger.

7.. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

I see it as an extension of me..as essential as the air I breathe. I am also a songwriter and great admirer of the late great Bowie whose lyrics and music really inspired me too.

There are enough restraints and expectations in the every day lives we live. No flowers grow on the path of normality.

8. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Wait for the emotion. Your words cannot be forced. Then let each one unfurl like a flower on your page.

9. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I am being interviewed at home on the 13th December as one of my poems about the NHS has been selected for the digital archive to celebrate their 70 years ! They need to know what inspired me to write it.
Secondly, I am collating some of my poetry with a view to finding a publisher ! I self published a collection back in my twenties and sold all my copies. I used to give recitals at Townswomens’ Guilds etc.
Thirdly, I have some songs ready to be tweaked lol.
I co wrote a charity single three years ago which was launched at the White Rose to raise money for resources to send to Swaziland where the two children our school sponsors come from.
Another song I co wrote was performed at Leeds Town Hall in front of 1800 people and the Lord Mayor of Leeds.
I am 60 next year but no chance of me slowing down. Ha ha.

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to talk about what words mean to me.


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