Writing Poetry Workshops at Trowbridge Museum: Workshop Two – Ted Hughes and other poets, March 3rd, 2012

As with the previous workshop, participants were varied in age and experience.  My aims, again, were to introduce new poems to the group and to facilitate new writing.
Here is a summary of poems read and writing prompts/exercises:
Ted Hughes’ ‘Hands’ was used as a prompt to write about someone by closely observing their hands.
Moving from the human, two poems about horses.  ‘Horses’ by Pablo Neruda (translated by Stephen Mitchell) and ‘The Horses’ by Hughes – write a poem about an encounter with a horse.
In a different style completely we looked at Maitreyabandhu’s poem ‘Horse’ (from Smiths Knoll Issue 46) and used his first line “Take this day” as a way into a new poem (not necessarily about horses).
Then back to Hughes and his poem ‘Rain’ and a much shorter poem about rain ‘In a Thousand Places’ by Richard Kemp (from Smiths Knoll Issue 48).  We noted how these poems are filmic in their use of montage.  So the next writing exercise was to create a picture of rain using a montage of sensory images.
Then, more rain, but, appropriately, as we’d considered the filmic nature of some poems, the rain in films.  We read Don Paterson’s ‘Rain‘, with its first line “I love all films that start with rain” and then two poems inspired by films; ‘The Yes and the No and the Terrible Thank You’ by Annie Freud and ‘The Death of Vito Corleone’ by Simon Barraclough.  These provided the prompt to write a poem from a film.
Then back to Hughes and rain!  ‘Hawk in the rain’ by Hughes and Jen Hadfield’s ‘Jellyfish’, ‘Denouement’ and ‘Nature Study’.  The next task was to observe in close detail an animal or wildlife.
Staying with wildlife we read Jo Shapcott’s ‘Scorpion‘ and borrowed the line “I kill it because……” to write a new poem.
Finally we read two Alice Oswald poems ‘Daisy’ and ‘Snowdrop’ to write poems personifying a flower or weed.

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