Life in town inspires Kathy’s Impressions

Kathy Spivey has produced a volume of work called Impressions.
Kathy Spivey has produced a volume of work called Impressions.

For the last 12 years Kathy Spivey has been an American living in Scarborough.

She has worked in the UK as a cleaner, a warden of the elderly, as assistant at an optician’s and now the caretaker of St Martin’s CofE Primary School.

All of this will come to an end in July when she returns to her native America, setting up a new life in an arts community in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Cutting through these dozen years like a joining thread has been her love of poetry.

Kathy is a leading light in the Scarborough Poetry Workshop, a group of a dozen or so local poets, which meets fortnightly at the Valley Inn.

Many of her poems celebrate her life in Scarbororough, reflecting on the good, bad and sad things that have happened to her while ‘in exile’.

Kathy has been working on a slim volume entitled Impressions which is a souvenir of Scarborough for friends and family both here and in America.

The project came about as a result of Kathy’s fascination with the black and white pictures of local photographer David Chalmers.

One of David’s more illustrious commissions was to photograph the crown jewels.

His specialism is the sea and its changing relationship with the shore. On seeing his images, Kathy developed an idea.

She said: “David is a solo guy who doesn’t normally work as a collaborator, but I was struck by the fact that his pictures are like my poetry – very spare.

“So the idea of a book that was poetry, pictures and memoir was born.”

She hails from Sanford, North Carolina – ‘the brick capital of the world’ but recalls when she was young the family moving to Pinehurst – ‘the golf capital of the world’.

She said: “Coming to Scarborough reminded me of Pinehurst because tourism is important to both towns.”

But unlike Pinehurst, Scarborough has the sea; and the sea has been a source of fascination for Kathy and her poetry.

Kathy added: “Living near the sea is delightful.

“It’s changing moods and fickle weather patterns, the cloud formations.

“I have never lived this far north so sky-watching has become a bit of a hobby.”

Kathy’s arrival in Scarborough was choice not accident.

Her long-time friend with whom she lived in St Louis and Denver was an Englishwoman who had worked as a nurse in the states for over 20 years.

To Kathy’s surprise, her friend announced that she was returning to England short term to help support her aging parents who had retired to Scarborough.

Kathy came with her. But the short term became the long and in 2014 Kathy’s homesickness reached a level whereby she longed for a return to the states.

Kathy is not yet a well-known poet but she hopes that in her retirement, living with like-minded creative people, she can make her mark.

Kathy said: “I will miss living by the sea, but I won’t at all mind living in the desert and getting back to a more southerly clime.”

Impressions consists of Kathy’s musings on life in Scarborough, a brief anthology of her poems, and David Chalmers brilliant black and white marine photography.

It is on sale at The Bookshelf on Victoria Road and Wardle and Jones Books on Bar Street, priced at £12.95.