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Rosie Driffill

Rosie Driffill works as a writer and psychotherapist. Having spent years writing about language, sustainable living and mental health for various publications including the Guardian, Wanderlust and Therapy Today, she began exploring the same themes in poetry. Her debut pamphlet, Blue-Green Algae, is about nature’s demise and the flaws in human nature.

Her memoir of surviving an undiagnosed illness, Suddenly, While Living, was published by Valley Press in 2021. Rosie describes her memoir as being almost as accidental as her illness, but insists poetry is ‘unflinchingly deliberate, a fully-furnished comfort zone.’ She currently lives in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.


Suddenly, While Living

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Click here to read an exclusive extract from this book.

"Words newspapers use in articles about medically unexplained illnesses that you rarely see in articles about medically explained illnesses: Claim, Insist, Convince, Purported, Evidence, Disputed, Baffled, Phantom, Believe, Imaginary, Controversial, Fantasy, Freaky, Unusual, Bizarre, Real, Not real."

Suddenly, while living, Rosie's body stopped. Too ill to function as she did before, and with a trail of baffled doctors in her wake, Rosie works to find new meaning in this rollercoaster we call life, taking us along for the ride.

Breaking down the walls between memoir, self-help, comedy, and poetry, Suddenly, While Living is Rosie’s telling of her first year with her mystery illness as she grapples with love, loss, religion and, of course, her health. Rosie’s rare gift for writing informally while maintaining a great depth of meaning will have you laughing and crying in equal measure, leaving you with a whole new outlook on life.

Blue-Green Algae

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It’s nature poetry, so it’s pretty, and it’s ugly.
It’s us at our messiest, our most incongruous.
Running around. Running away.
Learning that there is nowhere to run to.

In this meditation on flora, fauna, fire and failing relationships, birds flee, trees hide, gargoyles weep, Arcadia grows ever more distant, and we – humans that we are – see fit to plant marigolds and dig up dandelions. Cook chickens and swoon over kingfishers. Protect the game birds then shoot them for sport. Build walls, fell trees, and squeeze the sublime out of mountains. Partition the planet into that which we might control, and that which we might idealise, gaze at. Regard the world, regard each other, through the lenses our parents gave us, seldom stopping to simply let things be.

But hope springs eternal; and we still have time. Just.

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