Why I Love... Acton
Poet Caroline Maldonado
Caroline Maldonado worked for Ealing Council in the 1990s and set up Action Acton, which developed to become a successful independent charity. Action Acton secured government funding and Caroline became its chief executive, working on projects such as the regeneration of South Acton Estate, the early consultation meetings that eventually led to the Old Acton Town Hall development and the market on The Mount.
Ten years ago, she took a writing course and started to spend several months of the year in Italy, writing and translating. Last May her co-translation of a collection of Italian poetry was published and now a book of her own poems, What they say in Avenale, has come into print.
Whereabouts do you live in Acton?
How long have you lived here?
I moved to Acton I5 years ago when I was setting up Action Acton and wanted to live in the area I was helping to regenerate.
What job do you do now?
I’m a poet and I translate, mainly poetry from Italian smokestack-books.co.uk/book.php?book=73) I also chair the Board of Trustees of the brilliant journal, Modern Poetry in Translation, which publishes poets from all over the world and promotes them through public events. www.mptmagazine.com/
When did you start writing?
I’ve probably always written in my spare time but about eight years ago I took a Writing MA at Sheffield Hallam University, where I completed a novel and dared to write poetry seriously.
Where did your inspiration come from for your book of poems?
I now live part-time in a small village in Italy and was inspired by everything, my neighbours (to whom I’ve dedicated the book) and their way and pace of life – so different from mine – and the astonishing natural environment. Sometimes when you move to a different place you observe everything more closely, and most of the poems are based on close observation, although some fly off into a different imaginative realm.
Do you feel Acton is a particularly creative/artistic place?
Increasingly so. It has its small theatre and film club, and Acton Community Forum has done fantastic work developing inclusive arts, with projects such as the Carnival and the W3 Art Gallery. I wish we had a bookshop, though! And I’ll be very disappointed if the Arts Centre project in the old library doesn’t go ahead. I really believe that the arts can have such an important role, not only providing personal fulfilment but also genuine community cohesion.
What are your favourite parts?
I love the green spaces, Acton Park, Springfield Gardens, and the independent shops in Churchfield Road.
Do you have any restaurants you recommend?
I’d always recommend the Lebanese restaurant, L’Oriental for its good food and friendly atmosphere. Also, Persian Nights in Uxbridge Road – and the enticing Iranian pastry shop across the road which sells the best macaroons I’ve ever tasted. The Aeronaut for a pub meal and circus acts is unusual and great fun.
How would you 'sell' Acton to those who don't know it?
A mixed community, lots of green space, attractive architecture, good transport – it has the feel of urban London and the suburbs with the benefits of both. Of course, Crossrail and the fifteen minute train ride into central London is a good selling point.
What do you think could improve W3?
I’d like to see the small industrial estate near Acton mainline replaced by a commercial estate and the unacceptable level of pollution, affecting the health and quality of life of local residents, reduced further.
Copies of Caroline's book are for sale locally in the Village Trading Store at 29 Churchfield Road, Acton and in Pitshanger Bookshop in Pitshanger Lane, Ealing.
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17 December 2014