Hi! My name is Caroline Am Bergris and I’m a poet who is half Colombian and half Pakistani, living in London. I believe good poetry should be like shaving off God’s beard! I’ve been published in journals and magazines in Europe and America and have won the Over The Edge poetry prize in Ireland and Black Spring Press’ competition to be included in an anthology of the best new British and Irish poets. I’ve been shortlisted for the Spectrum Identity Poetry Award, won a place to be mentored by Cinnamon Press for a year and have attended Faber & Faber’s advanced Poetry Salon.
I am physically and mentally disabled and mainly suffer with chronic pain, chronic fatigue, anxiety, bipolar and psychosis, which leave me unable to read, write or have a conversation and make it difficult for me to move, for parts of the day. I was in a coma after a suicide attempt, have spent three months living on the streets of London in winter and nearly a year locked up in mental hospitals. I also had to flee to a domestic violence refuge in fear of my life, and had someone set fire to my flat with me inside it. These experiences have greatly informed my writing – one of the things I write about is pain and the beauty that can sometimes transcend it. I hope that my hard-earned clarity sings.
I have been a church organist, a mediator, a PhD anthropology student, a teacher of anger management to offenders, a stand-up comic, a theatre musical director and a teacher of Medicine in Society to medical students, among many other things.
Going out in the cold, wind and rain is risky for me, but riskier still is occasionally playing poker, backgammon and scrabble for money when you have trouble concentrating..!