TOLLESBURY poet Cassandra Swan has had a lifelong fascination with words.

“I’ve always loved playing around with the English language,” she tells me, “ever since I was toddler. Words have been my passion for as long as I can remember, it’s just sometimes I’ve not been able to manifest that in the way I’ve wanted to.”

Except now she has in her very first collection of poetry entitled The Alibi Room.

Cassandra is an internationally acclaimed, widely published, award-winning poet, author, artist, and former hypnotherapist.

Her poetry has been featured on BBC Radio and she has been widely published in poetry magazines, gaining plenty of international praise for her work.

She delves deep into the human mind and condition in her intimate, confessional poetry to explore the human psyche utilising voices, landscapes, characters, images, emblems, myths and symbols, which embrace death and re-birth.

This collection of selected works reaches back as far as her adolescence. Some of them are tragic, some humourous, while some serve as a map to her own unique journey.

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She says: “It all started back in 2003 when my father was dying and I was living in this weird hut. There was no electricity, no running water, and I just locked myself away for the winter to take some time out.

"Then one day I remember going to a second hand book fair in Maldon and found this box on top of which was a book of poems by the Soviet writer, Vladimir Mayakovsky.

“When I read that, it really did inspire to start writing my own poems.”

Recently, the State Mayakovsky Museum in Moscow has invited Cassandra to perform her epic tribute to Vladimir Mayakovsky: The Panjandrum of Quondam (The Epic Grenade), which is included in her debut collection.

“I was writing, sometimes 14 hours a day,” she continues, “and the spirit of Mayakovsky was coming through loud and clear as well as Sylvia Plath, who is another huge influence on my work.”

Originally from Southend, Cassandra moved to Goldhanger to be close to her mum but then settled in Tollesbury four years ago because that’s where her mum and stepfather used to paint.

“Because of various stress related ailments,” she says, “I’ve not written any poems since 2010 but last year I was approached by an agent who said I should try and get my poems out to a wider audience.

"It became quite a personal project in the end putting it all together but I was very pleased with the final collection, which is made up of work from my teens but mainly consists of poems written between 2003 and 2006.”

Despite not writing anymore, Cassandra has been in demand for her work more than ever. Not only has she been approached by the director of a long-standing ballet academy, she’s also been approached by a US film director.

The Alibi Room is out now online and in all good bookshops. Click here for more information.