Yrsa Daley-Ward: The model who turned her pain into poetry

The Instagram poet Yrsa Daley-Ward has had a difficult life - an unsettled childhood, the loss of her mother and struggles with depression. But it’s these things, she says, that have made her the person she is and added an extra dimension to her first collection, recently published, called Bone.
It was an episode of Coronation Street that prompted Yrsa Daley-Ward’s mother to make a confession. The soap’s storyline revealed that one character long supposed to have been another’s father, was in fact her stepfather.
And that was what Daley-Ward’s mother suddenly came out with too - the man Yrsa had been brought up to believe was her dad was not her dad after all.
It was a shock, but far from the only episode in her childhood worthy of a soap.
Daley-Ward describes her relationship with her mother as “interesting”. While her biological father was never part of her life, her mother was also far away for four very important years.
"Growing up, my mum had to make lots of decisions that I didn't understand at the time," she says.
After splitting up from her “father”, Daley-Ward's mother had to work nights and she decided to send her children out of London to Lancashire, to live with their grandparents. So at seven years old, the young Yrsa and her even younger brother, found themselves in a very different world. Their grandparents were - and still are - strict Seventh Day Adventists.
"There are many rules - it's a sect of Christianity that adhered to the Old Testament," she says, and in particular to the Ten Commandments. Daley-Ward learned the Bible inside out and had to spend her free time handing out leaflets about the Second Coming.
She thought this was unfair. She also noticed that despite her efforts on behalf of the church, its members were judging her harshly - as she remembers in her poem, Sabbath.
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    Nicole Nodland

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