A WOMAN who wrote poetry to cope with an unhappy marriage is aiming to help others with the launch of her first collection of work.

Maria Stephenson, 44, started writing the collection, Poetry for the Newly Single Forty Something, when she felt trapped in an unhappy relationship, suffering from low self-esteem and depression.

She said: "I poured all my emotions into poetry to survive the trauma. My ex-husband always said my writing was a waste of time and would never amount to anything. After making the decision to leave him on my fortieth birthday, one of the first things I did was apply for the MA in Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity. Trinity gave me the confidence to put my work out there.”

The collection is separated into three parts. The first part The Caterpillar is about being trapped in an unhappy marriage; part two The Chrysallis chronicles Maria’s escape; and part three The Butterfly was written as she found her freedom and began to live again.

Maria said: "The collection was put together to help anyone trapped in a bad marriage."

She added: "It just came into being when I realised my experiences may help other people trapped in miserable relationships.”

Martyn Bedford, novelist and senior lecturer in creative writing at Leeds Trinity, said: "Maria is a talented, versatile writer who produced poetry, short stories and a novel during two highly successful years on the MA.

"This publication is a wonderful achievement for Maria and yet another feather in the cap of our creative writing programme."

The poetry collection will be launched at 7.30pm on Thursday, October 19 at Bar 1331 in York, and at 7.30pm on Thursday, October 26 at Korks Wine Bar in Otley.

Poetry for the Newly Single Forty Something, published by Stairwell Books of York, is available to buy from www.stairwellbooks.co.uk or www.mariastephenson.com for £8.