How to be a Poet
Poet-playwright Rebecca Sharp blogs about the strangeness of poem-writing for us:
'I write across a few different forms – poetry and plays mostly, including collaborations with musicians, visual artists, sound artists, you name it…
But we’re here to talk about poetry, so let’s do that. The reason for the preamble is to swerve the idea that poetry is one fixed thing – and sometimes a distancing or challenging thing. A poem is anything made of words, I always say. Literally, in the case of visual or concrete poetry - but also taking in sound, rhythm, texture, character, feeling. Yes, let’s definitely talk about feelings.
And that’s where the magic comes in – because poetry works with the unexpected, it asks the unexpected from us, whether you’re the reader or the writer. Not the easy image or the usual turn of phrase.
That’s why poetry exists: to be the awkward cousin at the family gathering, the one you’re never quite sure what they’ve been doing since the last time, but they have that look in their eyes and there’s something they’re not telling you.
In this course we’ll look at form and structure, but we’ll also do a lot of creative play. This is all about developing your voice – you might already have work in mind, or you might be looking for a fresh approach. It’s all possible. We’ll use creative exercises for all the senses (my now in/famous box of essential oils will be coming along) – seeing what form your subject wants to take. You might still be feeling around for your subject, so let’s see what games will help bring it out.
A poem-jar from Rebecca Sharp's poetry residency at StAnza festival, 2016
We’ll also get into the nitty-gritty of editing. I love the initial creative burst, but I’m also a total geek for editing… I’m happy to edit your work with you and to help you unleash your own inner-geek.
Sharing and shyness are both welcome – this will be a small, supportive group. We will explore how to read aloud or even perform your poems, to build confidence and creativity here if you wish. We’ll also have mini break-out sessions for one-to-one attention. We’ll be like a family. Awkward cousins welcome.'
The six-week Poetry Course at Skriva begins Wednesday 20th April. Classes are held every Wednesday 6pm-7.30pm in our studio on Palmerston Place. Book your place here.