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Morning Workshop – Poetry, 14th June 2014

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The sun shone on us all that quiet morning, in the bright and airy room graciously offered to us by the University of the West of Scotland.

‘A poem has its own voice,’ Alison encouraged the timid, but hopeful poet within us all. ‘Your task is to release it, find it, send it on its way…’

And with those fine words, we were promptly sent on ours, to find a place of solitude within the generous grounds. Our instructions were simple:

fifteen minutes
on your own
just be there
no talking,
even upon your return to the room.

We filed out with calm solemnity and returned strangely refreshed, even after just fifteen minutes, blinking our way back into the constrictions of the built environment.

Then, before the experience could fall from us, like vague impressions from a fast fading dream, we were encouraged to harvest from it as much sensory information as possible; whether factual events, impressions or associations that ran from them like liquid mercury. We worked our way through each of the senses, scribbling silently.

Then came the challenge of a word/concept building task, whereby we each had to select one word, that somehow represented an idea from all that we had just experienced/produced and from it grow ripples of other words or concepts, associated by sound, meaning or some cognitive idiosyncrasy known only to ourselves. Then, working from this sea of concentric word waves, we each selected key words and picked pathways through the trails we had just established, to build the foundations of a poem.

Everyone came up with something, and it was quite fascinating to hear the range of ideas and approaches, focussing on aspects of that first fifteen minutes. What started as a shared experience within a common landscape, producing as many unique perspectives as there were budding poets.

The morning was a tremendous success, and our workshop leader, Alison, was a true star, guiding and encouraging us all throughout. It was a morning to remember; good company, tranquil environ…oh, and did I mention the scones???

A huge thanks to Alison for giving us her time, experience and encouragement, to Pearl for organising the venue (and the scones) and to everyone who managed to come along and share in the fun.

Here’s to the next time!

Dorothy

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