Monday, 18 February 2008

Water, water everywhere

This Friday 22nd February, 10 am - 11.30 am, I'm running a FREE writing workshop for 8-11 year olds in Buxton Museum: Dive into some of the watery exhibits and splash around with riddles and rhythms to create poems for the Buxton Festival Poetry Competition (theme: Water!) Booking essential - contact Buxton Museum, 01298 24658 or email

Last week I spent an inspiring morning at Buxton Community School with a brilliant Year 8 group writing poems to send to the afore-mentioned Poetry Competition (closing date 1st April, its FREE to enter - up to three poems -if you're under 19). Here are photos and links to the poems they wrote. Quotes from their feedback:

I didn't expect the workshop to be as fun as it was.
I learned more creative and effective ways to word my poems.
What was new was finding out that poems can be very different from each other... it has given me more confidence.
I learned that a poem is what you feel and never wrong.

Thanks to everyone who took part, and particularly to Andrea Wallace and Karey Lucas-Hughes for the great organisation & hospitality - toasted tea-cakes at break :-). Also thanks to Cathy Grindrod for her invaluable assistance and for the wonderful poem she wrote during the session.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Poems on the brain ...

Most mornings I wake up with a random tune in my head: Waterloo or the Hallelujah Chorus (if I'm lucky). All this week, however, I've had a poem on the brain, thanks to my neighbour Rowan Rheingans (currently at folk music school in Sweden). By coincidence she has set Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (see my blog entry for 20th Nov) to music. Miles To Go is the first song on her MySpace page (starts after 2 mins of intro). It's great - and what a good way to learn poems by heart! For thousands of years poems weren't written down, they were passed on through being sung and memorised.

Where do music and poetry begin and end? What other poems have been used in songs? Comments and links welcome.
Photo: Ottawa, Canada. (Today is glorious in Derbyshire - thick frost, sunshine but no snow in sight).

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

It's February! It's LGBT History Month!

Thanks to everyone who came to Chesterfield Library tonight to read, share & discuss LGBT and other authors who have shaped our lives. Thanks for the writing, the instant poems and reminiscences: moving, entertaining and illuminating. Good to mull over questions such as 'Does reading matter to us?', 'Why are books by gay and lesbian authors important at certain times in our lives?', 'Does the quality of the writing matter more than the writer being gay?' and 'Are we drawn to writing that is inclusive and, in the best sense, humanist because of our experiences?'.

Here are some favourites by two writers who are poets first and foremost, and whose writing has given me inspiration, pride and courage. The Hug by Thom Gunn and XII (from Twenty-One Love Poems) by Adrienne Rich. The latter poem has a misprint on this link - 'worls' on the 14th line should be 'world'.
Check out other regional events for LGBT History Month.