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Poetry Workshop

Third week in and I am starting to find my feet in this new world of Ayr Writers’ Club. Well it’s a new world to me anyway. I am trying to sit with different people each week to chat to and this seemed to be working well, until last night James Rose approaches me…. with a request to writ this weeks’ blog.
No bother says I, trembling in my shoes. It’s one thing writing the family Christmas newsletter, where no one looks at my grammar, punctuation or apostrophes, but totally another where the readers are all writers!
So, onto the programme last night: the poetry workshop, run by our own award winning Alison Craig. After the introduction we were asked to do 5 minutes of free writing, non-stop writing, even if we were writing down nonsense (sorry, too many repeats of writing!). The topic was one from the selection given to us, except we weren’t allowed our first choice! Some were brave enough to select, the second time, their least favourite option, to push themselves, however, I wasn’t that brave.
From that we had to select a few phrases that appealed to us and write them onto a separate piece of paper. So far, so good. Alison then explained the use of rhyme within a poem, but not necessarily putting it at the end of the line. Sometimes rhyme works in the middle of a line and can be used effectively throughout the poem. To show the technique, Alison read from a poem by Louis MacNeice.
After this we went onto the rhyme well. Concentric rings, to give the effect of ripples in a still pond after throwing a stone, were filled with rhyming words from the original one chosen from the few lines we had written on out sheets earlier, the rhyme not necessarily coming from the end of the word.
A welcome break for tea and coffee, a peruse at the ‘what I am reading now’ table and a catch up with people ensued, but the hard work was about to start. Alison got us to take the phrases we had chosen earlier and turn them into the start of a miracle poem using words we had put on our rhyme well.
I am no poet, but managed to produce the embryo of a piece of work. Brave enough (just) to raise my hand and read it out, I got such feedback that I was wide awake at 3am with my head still buzzing!
Alison ended by reading another lovely poem called Summer Farm by Norman MacCaig, encouraging us to continue to work on our masterpieces and enter them into the forthcoming poetry competition (entry date 21st October 2015), which has the ‘Sense of Place’ theme.
So there ended my third week at the Ayr Writers’ Club. Thank you Alison Craig for an inspiring workshop and thank you members for making me so welcome.

Melissa Donald

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