Sylvia Oldroyd was born in Hull, Yorkshire, but started moving south at the age of 8, and spent her growing-up years in the Midlands. Visits during these years to the West Riding and to the Lake District, where there were family connections, gave her an early experience of different landscapes and dialects, developing her fascination with words. Her father’s love of literature and her mother’s talent for the piano meant that language and lyricism were always present in her background. At school she was influenced by the poetry of Keats and Wordsworth, Gerald Manley Hopkins, and the Cumbrian poet Norman Nicholson.
Sylvia’s only poetic success in these years was winning a class competition at the age of ten, with a poem about her dog. It was the only triumph she achieved at Junior School! She trained as a primary school teacher in Nottingham, and worked there for some years, later moving to Pirbright in Surrey. During this time she tried writing in a variety of different fields: stories for children and adults, articles; but eventually poetry took over. On moving to work in Southampton she began writing poetry seriously, and joined a workshop group, where she met her husband, another poet. After marriage she moved again, to the edge of the New Forest; another contrasting landscape to those of he origins, which led to a pamphlet collection A New Forest Calendar (2002).
The natural world has always been a potent source of ideas for Sylvia, but her work extends to cover anything that strikes a spark: family, music, travels in Europe, world events, etc. She is currently working on a series of poems based on her family history.