Well we truly started 2015 with a bang! We had the pleasure of welcoming former Birmingham Laureate Roz Goddard to our group to lead us in exercises on writing poetry from prompts.
We were lucky enough to welcome some new faces, as well as familiar faces from other writing groups, and our group friend Jane Seabourne - who had masterminded the session in conjunction with Poetry on Loan - joined us too.
Roz started with a little game to introduce everyone in the room. She had laid out a variety of objects on the table, including playing cards, a mobile phone, a necklace, a shaving brush and various other items. We each had to choose an object which we connected with in some way and describe our connection with it, so we learned a little something about everyone around the table.
We first of all loosened up our writing minds with a bit of freewriting – or, ‘hotpenning’ – where the writer does a stream of consciousness exercise without considering grammar or other editing. Roz gave us the starting phrase: ‘It always happens. I can feel my heart racing…’ and we continued writing non-stop for 5 minutes.
Once we were nice and limber, Roz asked us to do a visualisation exercise. We chose an object - either from the table or another one we had thought of that we wanted to write about – and we all closed our eyes as Roz talked us through a surreal scenario where we buried the object in the ground! She promised we would pick this up again later in the session but we moved on to another exercise.
Roz had brought with her a selection of postcards which she distributed around the table for us to look at. We picked ones we were drawn to, and then answered a series of questions about the pictures, such as ‘What time of day is it in the picture?’ and ‘What is happening out of shot?’. As we brought all of these answers together, a poem started to form! We had a bit of time to work on them and read them aloud to the group. There were lots of great interpretations of the prompts, and lots of potential for some strong poems.
Then we returned to our buried items from earlier in the day. We did another visualisation where Roz talked us through returning to the place where we had buried our items a year on, to find that a tree had grown from our items! We had to imagine what a tree which had sprouted from an inanimate object would look like, and write about it. This exercise we took away with us to finish over the month and share it at February’s meeting.
These exercises really helped us to understand how we, as writers, can be inspired from everyday objects, and gave us a great kick-start to the year’s activities. It was lovely to meet Roz, who was an excellent teacher, and to reinvigorate our creative juices with some new writing exercises. Many thanks to Roz, Jane Seabourne and Poetry on Loan for enabling Blakenhall Writers to host such a useful session.
January Writing Task
If you want to join in the task this month, imagine a tree which has grown from an inanimate object, and share your thoughts with us in February! You can pick any object you like.