Aims of the workshop
- to introduce new poetry to the group
- to encourage new writing
Participants were varied in age and experience of reading and writing poetry. The workshops were organised around reading/ listening to a poem and then following a writing prompt loosely structured on its subject matter and/or technique.
I introduced two quotes about writing poetry:
“…..nothing, but in things” (William Carlos Williams)
“Go in firmly, step off lightly” (George Szirtes)
Here is a summary of the poems read, points of discussion and writing exercises/prompts:
‘Old Notebook’ by Michael Laskey – the benefits of keeping a notebook; collecting words we are drawn to, not necessarily for any reason other than liking their sound; being precise about detail.
‘Valentine’ by Carol Ann Duffy. ‘Break’ by Robin Robertson – using concrete items to write about abstract emotions.
‘Onions’ by William Mathews. ‘Gone’ by Michael Laskey – used the shared opening lines “How easily happiness begins…” as a writing prompt.
Still thinking about domestic settings, we returned to Duffy’s ‘Warming Her Pearls’ to write a poem using dramatic monologue.
Then, two poems about tea. ‘Tea’ by Duffy and ‘Tea Death’ by Jo Shapcott. Use a liquid in your poem but in an unexpected way!
Then a poem by Connie Bensley (from Smiths Knoll, Issue 48) “I am sending you this present because………” as a gift line to begin a new poem.
Then back to Duffy and her poem ‘Oxfam’ and Mathew Sweeney’s 2011 National Poetry Competition poem ‘A History of Glassblowing’ to write a list poem.