Workshop with Anna Selby
'Rewilding Poetry: An Ecology of Listening and Writing'
TUESDAY 10:30 - 12:00pm £20
In this workshop, we’ll hear ancient Irish and Chinese poems, written when the poet lived and dwelt in their subject: in the wilderness, in caves, mountains and forests. We’ll reconnect with our elemental nature and rescale our place in relation to deep time, and in proportion to more-than-human species and the natural world. We’ll do a variety of exercises to generate lots of ideas and ways into making new work, covering topics including plein air and wilderness poetry, live writing, empathy, compassion, reciprocity and reconnection. Poetry can be a powerful tool for speaking up for the environment in multifaceted ways. The poems we’ll look at are from all over the world, with translations from German, Chinese, Japanese and Irish.
Workshop with Helen Mort
'Working with Silence'
TUESDAY 1:30 - 3:00pm £20
In his Ars Poetica 'On Poetry', Glyn Maxwell describes the poet's relationship with silence and the blank page: ‘Poets work with two materials, one’s black and one’s white....just don’t make the mistake of thinking the white sheet is nothing....For a poet it’s half of everything. If you don’t know how to use it you are writing prose.’ In this workshop, we'll consider how 'silence' can occupy a contested
role in our work. We'll discuss topics from the dramatic pause, the line break and the unsaid to times when silence can be political, whether we're responsible for what we don't write as well as what we do. Poets we will look at include Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Emily Berry
and Richard Siken.
If you want any background reading, this might help:
Workshop with Holly Hopkins
'Talking to Strangers'
WEDNESDAY 10:30 - 12:00pm £20
What secret could you only admit to a stranger? What impact do we have on people we bump into and may never meet again? In this workshop, we will look at poems which use chance encounters – real and imagined – to unlock new thoughts and ideas. We will read poems by Vicki Feaver, Sharon Olds and John Clegg among others. We will use these poems as jumping-off points for our own work. There will be lots of exercises to generate new ideas and starting points for our own poems.
Workshop with Sarah Westcott
WEDNESDAY 1:30 - 3:00pm £20
What is meant by 'magic' in poetry? From prayers to myth, manifestos, curses and charms, poems can create ‘something’ out of nothing, enacting a material transformation. Glyn Maxwell’s idea that language is ‘unimaginably deeper, stronger and brighter than you are’ is powerful. When we write, we reach into an ancient ‘word-hoard’ - what might we carry back with us onto the page? Working with the natural world, and looking at poems by Sam Willetts, Ted Hughes, Pablo Neruda and Kim Moore, we will load words with intent, connecting to chance, wonder, the power of language.
Workshop with Karl Knights
'Writing Good Spirits and Evil Spirits'
THURSDAY 10:30 - 12:00pm £20
Czeslaw Milosz once wrote that he hoped ‘that good spirits, not evil ones,’ would choose poets ‘for their instrument.’ What happens to our poems when so called evil spirits, like jealousy or rage, enter them? We’ll be taking a look at some poems that give themselves over to good and bad spirits, to guide us toward letting evil spirits into our work as much as the good ones.
Workshop with Polly Atkin
'Precarious Property: Writing in, through and of the Body'
THURSDAY 1:30 - 3:00pm £20 Online
We all live in and write from our bodies. Emily Dickinson described the body as ‘Profound – precarious Property –/Possession, not optional’. Yet often they are forgotten about or invisibilised on the page. In this workshop we will explore writing the body, and writing through the body, in its various states of health and location. We will look at examples of poetry which centre experiences of embodiment, and the experience of the body, focusing on how our relationship with our bodies and the relationships between our bodies and the world may be expressed, particularly through formal and conceptual experimentation. How can we learn from others to write through and of the body, to let the body speak?
Workshop with Greta Stoddart
FRIDAY 10:30 - 12:00pm £20
“I want to get into the mind of the reader and make it move … we have a kind of inertia sitting and reading … I want to move the mind”. So says Anne Carson. So how can we move a mind? How does a poem move us? And how does it itself move? Looking at both the emotional power of a poem as well as exploring its movement as a whole we’ll play around with the shape of the poem, its breath and beating heart.
Workshop with Sue Wallace-Shaddad
'Unpacking a Sense of Place'
FRIDAY 11:00 - 12:30pm £20
In this workshop, Sue will consider the ways in which we are affected by ‘place’. Participants will be asked to reflect on what ‘place’ means for them, whether a physical place or a position accorded to them. What place do you hold in your family? How can you evoke geographical place? What inspiration can separation from place provoke? Sue will share poems by different poets, for example Abeer Ameer writing about Iraq and Sheree Mack writing about Ghana and Trinidad, as well as some of her own work. The main focus will be on short writing exercises based on prompts.
Workshop with Fokkina McDonnell
'That Special Place'
FRIDAY 2:15 - 3:45pm £20
The poems yet to be written are ready and waiting for us. Are we ready for them? In this workshop we will explore and review several techniques that help us connect more securely with our creativity, manage our internal states, and use our mental and creative resources effectively. We will do some short writing and editing exercises. We will read poems by Louise Glück, Tomas Tranströmer and Raymond Carver.
You’ll also be able to use the techniques in performing poems ‘live’ and for podcasts. They are sound psychological techniques which the workshop presenter has used in her previous career as a NLP psychotherapist and EMDR consultant.
Workshop with Rebecca Goss
'A Catalogue of Skies'
SATURDAY 9:30 - 11:00am £20 Gallery
When we think of the sky, it is easy to think of how benign we know it to be. We all store particular blue skies and warm suns that, at one time, we have flourished beneath. Yet the sky can rage above us. We have known its storms; we have stood below its tempestuous flashes.’ - Rebecca Goss ‘Location and the Writer’, Royal Literary Fund, podcast, 2022. Come and explore a variety of texts about the sky with Rebecca, and write your own poems about the vast, constant, changing arc above us.
Workshop with Sarala Estruch
'An Inheritance: Writing Poems of Memory and Family History'
SATURDAY 9:30 - 11:00am £20 Online
Everyone has a history – a personal and familial history, which can provide abundant material for writing poetry. If, like me, you believe that uncovering untold histories – whether personal, familial, or national – is important, and a vital part of the poet’s work, then join me for a workshop of reading and discussing poets who do just that.
In this session, we will explore poems by Seamus Heaney, Moniza Alvi, and Hannah Lowe. In a safe group setting, we will discuss the potential challenges and rewards of this kind of writing, and try our hands at creating poems of ancestry and inheritance ourselves. You will come away from the session with a renewed sense of why you write, a clearer idea of the various modes and forms you can use to explore the past through poetry, and two or three brand new poem-creations.
Workshop with Arji Manuelpillai
'Poetry for Change'
SATURDAY 2:30 - 4:00pm £20 Gallery
Come with me on a journey of protest. Throughout my career I’ve been driven by a need to create sustainable social change. I’ve worked with communities across the world raising awareness about causes that I feel are just and ethical. I believe wholeheartedly in poetry as a means for change. Not just global or local change but internal change too. So within this workshop we’ll be connecting as a group, discussing poetry of change and then looking at writing our own poems that could create change in the world. Whether you’re intermediate or beginner I hope to make the workshops, fun, friendly and accessible for all.
Workshop with Kathy Pimlott
'Making the Everyday Sing'
SUNDAY 9:30 - 11:00am £20 Gallery
In this workshop we’ll look at how very ordinary stuff– kitchen utensils, shops, routine tasks – can be the launchpad into meditations on love, life, death and everything in between. We’ll use poems by poets including Vicki Feaver, Louise Glück and Helen Dunmore to generate the beginnings of our own new work and encourage us to reconsider the everyday. We’ll be reading, writing and sharing. Bring whatever you like to write with and on, and your lovely, extraordinary selves.
Workshop with Stav Poleg
SUNDAY 9:30 - 11:00am £20 Online
In this workshop, participants will be invited to create their own unique cities and metropolises in the process of working on their poems. We will experiment with writing about familiar cities as well as places we have never been to— real and imagined. What are the challenges of writing about a very familiar place? What can we discover by writing about a city we have never been to, or by inventing a completely fictional one? We will experiment with the ways we can create a strong sense of place in a poem, paying a particular attention to rhythm, sound, speech and visual images while working our way to evoke urban scenery and settings. Finally, to get our inspiration going, we will visit cities created by John Ashbery, TS Eliot, Terrance Hayes and Megan Fernandes, among others.
Workshop with Philip Terry
'Writing Poetry Through Ice Age Signs'
SUNDAY 2:45 - 4:15pm £20 Gallery
The workshop will begin with a warm-up exploring contemporary versions of the ancient form of the riddle. It will then look at Ice Age signs from the caves at Lascaux, including upside down “V’s”, rows of dots, signs resembling spears and so on. What might these signs mean?
Participants will be asked to come up with their own ideas and feed back. The signs and their possible interpretations will then be put into groups of nine in 3x3 grids (also from the Lascaux caves) and participants will use these as the starting point for writing poems.