A Huddersfield poet who was writing in London air raid shelters during the 1940 Blitz is still having work published at the age of 95.

And great grandmother Doris Corti is holding sessions for poetry every two weeks at Lindley library.

Doris, who in 2019 wrote her biography about being an evacuee during the war called Muffins For Tea, has had hundreds of poems published and her latest one called Familiar Patterns – written in tribute to her mum – has been published in an anthology called Two Ravens by Grey Hen Press.

One of Doris’ early poems was about being an 11-year-old evacuee standing on a railway platform in Wiltshire waiting for someone to pick her up … and the fear and anxiety she endured when no-one turned up.

Doris, who is now partially-sighted, said: “I’ve been writing poetry for as long as I can remember. I feel I was just born to write it. I love the sound of words and the way they fit together but with poetry you can use imagery and so it becomes more of an art form.

“Poetry is like painting with words – you have to feel it in your heart first and then learn how to manipulate the words for maximum effect, crafting them into a shape the reader will want to read.”

Doris taught poetry for the Huddersfield and District University of the Third Age for many years and is one of the judges for its current poetry competition with entries needing to be submitted by July 31, 2024. To apply go to https://www.huddlitfest.org.uk/event/poerty-comp-u3a/

Doris also mentors poets in workshop sessions at Lindley Library every other Tuesday for a couple of hours, starting at 11am. The group is called Lindley Poets and Doris was a member of the famous Albert Poets who used to meet at the Albert Hotel in Huddersfield town centre.

She is vice president of The Society of Women Writers and Journalists nationally.

Doris married husband Arthur in 1949 and the couple met shortly after he had returned home from the Second World War. Arthur’s family home in Canning Town, east London, was destroyed on the first night of the Blitz.

Although a Londoner, he served in the artillery with a Scottish Regiment and was involved in the D-Day landings in June 1944.

He then served through France, Belgium and Holland right up to the border with Germany before the war ended in May 1945.

Doris said: “He saw some awful things but never wanted to talk about it. We once watched the film Saving Private Ryan and I looked round to find Arthur crying which was very unusual as he was such a quiet man. He had just watched the scene showing the beach landing and said that’s just how it was.”

Doris was born in the East End of London in Plaistow near West Ham in 1928 and was evacuated in 1940 to St Ives in Cornwall and later moved to Wiltshire when she earned a scholarship for a school.

“I remember learning to write poetry in the air raid shelters during the Blitz in London,” she said. “One of the first books I absolutely loved was a poetry anthology called The Golden Treasury of Verse.”

Doris and Arthur have two sons and they moved to Essex and then Wisbech in Cambridgeshire where Arthur died in 2003. She moved to Huddersfield shortly afterwards.

“When I lost Arthur it was like losing my right arm,” said Doris. “He was my prop and supported me, especially with my poetry.”

Doris was involved in a Poets In Schools project many years ago when she went into schools, encouraging and helping the children to write poems which were then published in anthologies.

In 1994 she wrote a book about how to write poetry, simply called Writing Poetry.

Here’s one of Doris’ poems called Through The Window.

Early morning, a small glimpse
of cobalt blue, light
through a veil of mist
and glint of pearl on frosty paths.

Silver tipped, the larches gleam
in this white light. Strong impression
of the sky widening;

here and there tints of mauve,
a flush of pink. This light unwraps
and colours shimmer
small kaleidoscopes of joy.

Not quite gold, a streak,
a curve of cadmium yellow
and the day begins.

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.