by Amanda Eleftheriades
From an early age Carla Woodburn discovered that poetry and rhyme helped her express her emotions and clear her mind.
Now the Clydebank-based poet has created an audio space which celebrates the power of poetry and provides a platform for local writers to share their work.
‘Express Yourself – The Radio Show’ broadcasts every Thursday evening at 7pm on Sunny Govan Community Radio and Carla describes her show as “poetry from everyone, for everyone”.
She explained: “The aim of the show is to make poetry accessible to everyone and understandable for everyone.
“It takes away any pretentiousness that is associated with poetry and makes it enjoyable for all.”
Originally from Tain in the Highlands, Carla returned to her mother’s home town of Clydebank five years ago, after living in Barcelona.
On her return to Scotland she started hosting a monthly ‘Express Yourself’ creative event in Glasgow’s Project Café.
It was through a regular spot on a friend’s community news show that Carla first got involved with Sunny Govan.
Tragically her friend, Sarah passed away from terminal cancer and Carla was asked if she would like to take on her slot.
She said: “Sunny Govan approached me and said they would like me to do a show, I knew how to use the equipment so I just took it on board. It’s a nice memory of Sarah, my friend.
“Sunny G have been brilliant with me and have given me free rein.”
Now Carla is keen to hear from other local creatives and feels the radio show is a great opportunity to do this.
Anyone can send in an MP3 recording of their poetry and Carla will air them on her weekly show.
She also has regular themed nights which involve discussion and special guests.
Some of the recent topics covered included a mental health event and a Scottish themed show and she’s now planning a festive Christmas special.
Carla explained: “When we do themed shows it is much more of an event.
“The mental health show was a two hour slot and it was just great, we discussed male mental health and had two male poets on the show, we were discussing suicide but it was still an upbeat show.
“I think that’s the energy I bring to it, no matter if it is a hard topic.
“By keeping it real and remembering we are all real people, there is no taboo subject because we are all humans at the end of the day and we all have to tackle these stigmas and problems.
“Life’s ups and downs effect everybody and touches their life at some point.
“At Christmas I will be doing a festive show we’ll be talking about Covid at Christmas and anything that is Christmas related, how people are feeling at this time of year – the real world.”
Love of Poetry
As well as hosting the radio show and (pre-Covid) her own creative events, Carla loves writing her own poetry.
“Poetry for me was a thing I got involved with in primary school because I always enjoyed rhyming and the whole putting a poem together, expressing myself through rhyme.
“Poetry has been a continuous thing through my life, I’m published in two anthologies and have the radio show and events.
“I write a lot at home, it’s my way of expressing how I feel, it’s also good for your mental health, it clears your mind and it’s a really good outlet for me.”
And Carla has found the pandemic has boosted her creativity.
She added: “I’m creative anyway but the creativity that is coming out of me is ridiculous, I’m writing an awful lot and I’m focusing a lot more on the radio.
“I love writing imaginative poetry. I like twisting fairy tales and I enjoy surreal poetry.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a political poet but sometimes a number of my poems converge to be political.
“It’s always when something gets on my goat and it just seems to write itself, I don’t set out to be that political, usually it’s imaginative poetry, funny, humourous poetry almost fairytale like.”
Carla is already planning her shows for 2021.
“We’ve got some really exciting things coming up.
“We’re going to be doing an Alisdair Gray show at the start of January, not a tribute but celebrating his poetry because he’s quite neglected as a poet, there is more focus on his artwork and novels, so we’re going to focusing on him as a poet on the show.”
To have a poem included on Carla’s show just email an MP3 file to firstname.lastname@example.org
The only rule is there is no swearing and length should be no more than four minutes.
Everyone is welcome to take part.
Tune into Sunny Govan online at www.sunnyg.com or if in Glasgow you can hear Carla’s show on 103.5FM from 7pm every Thursday.