Meet Julie Turley, poetry category judge for Hysteria 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

I was first introduced to poetry by my Father who loved to read Houseman and Kippling amongst others. As a child I was an avid reader and this soon translated into writing myself. When asked to write about a topic at school I often wrote in poetry which was a little bit of an oddity at a secondary school in the 70’s. As I grew older I found that poetry served as a wonderful means of expression and I continued to write my way through the childhood of my six children, two divorces, a career in law and the variety of events that life throws at us all. So many of those early poems are lost, having disappeared in house moves and clear outs and if I could tell my younger self just one thing it would be to make sure I hold safe my early work as it is so important and influential to what I write now.

If you are a writer or poet, how did you get started?

Meeting my partner has probably had the greatest influence on my poetry as he is also a poet which means that I now have someone with whom I can fence with words. Poetry has become a way of life for us and we are slowly becoming more involved with other poets, recently spending a wonderful weekend volunteering at the Much Wenlock Poetry Festival.

Are there some themes you enjoy more than others?

I continue to be an avid reader and I enjoy the wealth of contemporary talent that we have writing at the moment. I am currently reading Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller, a wonderful tale which achieves a compelling mix of the joy of being alive with sinister undertones of fear and deceit. I love libraries but also love to purchase new books, an afternoon in a bookshop keeping my idea of bliss. My partner and I also spend hours perusing second hand bookshops wherever we go. We have made some wonderful discoveries over the years and are never happier than when we come away clutching a battered Coleridge or a threadbare Omar Khayyam.

What emotion do you associate with good writing?

When it comes to poetry my tastes are eclectic, ranging from Wordsworth to Kippling and from Larkin to Duffy. But for me the best poetry comes from the people I meet along the way. Those people who write for the love of it, the young people that I see perform Slam, the poets who get up on an open mic night and recite their own work. For me this is what poetry is really about. We poets are the troubadours of our age, recording the way that our generation feels and thinks and reflecting on the ever changing world in which we live.


A selection of my own poetry can be found on All poetry at where I write under the name Momnipotent.

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