One of Notting Hill Genesis's contractors has just had his third book published.
Vernal ‘Keith’ Wright, an environmental officer for K’s Pest Control, is also a poet called “Wizard”:
“I’ve been writing poems for a few years now. It all started when I was flying to see relatives in Jamaica. My passport had expired and I needed to get some new photos. I went to a photo studio where I met two nurses, we got talking and suddenly one of them asked me ‘How do you see your future?’ I was relatively young at the time and what she said got me thinking. Flying back London from Kingston, I looked out of the window of the plane and saw beneath me the red soil of Cuba. I reached for a pen and a piece of paper and I just started to write.
“When I got home, I just chucked the piece of paper in the back of the wardrobe and forgot about it until six or seven years later. At that time I was going through a bad patch in my marriage. I had really let my wife down – I remember seeing her cry and the sight of her tears was so terrible. It felt like all my yesterdays and todays have drifted away, like blood from veins. I didn’t like the life I was leading and so I asked myself what I needed to do. I shut myself away in a small room and I just started to put words together.”
Those first few words soon became a series of poems that formed the basis of Keith’s first book, titled Just a Dream.
“Once the book was finished, I started to look into publishers including one in Indiana. They got in touch and asked me to send them some pages. Then they asked for more and agreed to publish.
“By the time I came to write my second book, I had decided to try to find a different publisher. I sent samples to Austin Macauley and they published my second book – Chances Are – several months later.”
Keith’s third book I’m Here was also published by Austin Macauley:
“The photo on the front is of a hummingbird. I chose it because the hummingbird is the national bird of Jamaica which is where I’m from and where I feel like it all started all those years ago when I was flying home.”
His penname “Wizard” was more spontaneous:
“It just came to me during a radio interview and I wrote it down. I still write and read my poems for Radio RJR 98.3FM.”
Keith says that nature was – and still is – the inspiration for all his poems:
“I love the constancy of nature and we are not that different from our surroundings. We are like trees in that our skin is like a tree’s bark and a tree’s sap is like our blood.”
All three of Keith’s books are available to buy. Below is a poem from his latest book I’m Here:
Oh breeze, the one
who cleanses the wings of
Pollinates, rubbing trees,
sends rhythm to dense clouds
And sends leeches flying
Breeze, oh breeze, send
me your wind.
And let me collect and
remove your victims,
leaves and falling debris,
and cart them away like
dust in the wind.