Joe has written eloquently on the latest Poetry Aloud Workshop; in fact he has captured the essence of all of the meetings held thus far over the last few months on the website.
For anyone new to Poetry Aloud, or who has yet to attend a Workshop, let me offer this encouragement to attend.
Roughly the format consists of the poets bringing copies of a poem for consideration. The poet reads his/her poem and the poem is re-read by another member of the group. The poet then maintains a dignified silence whilst the group discuss the poem, its merits, strengths and any points which need consideration with regard to improvement. This last point is in no way daunting as the criticisms are always useful, constructive and sometimes not even agreed upon!
The poet will then give some sort of explanation as to the origins of the poem; its construction, inspiration, language and so on. Each reader tends to make notes on the comments which are made and I can say from personal experience that I have learnt more about my poem from these comments than ever I realised existed when I wrote it. It is then for each poet to go away and ‛polishʼ their poem in time for the Poetry Aloud reading usually held the following week.
Most recently our meeting consisted of just three of us. We discussed our poems, poetry and poetry competitions and each poem had a full and considered hearing. From the two pieces other than my own which were read, I can tell you that you will be in for a real treat come the meeting which falls at the end of May. It goes without saying that Joe was once again an exemplary host.
Finally I would add that hearing other poets reading and talking about their work has an invigorating effect upon your own writing. By discussing what they do well, the subjects they cover and discovering fresh techniques of language use, we subconsciously absorb new influences. From this our creativity evolves in a positive way. Above all else the sessions are friendly and not at all intimidating, so with that in mind, please watch the website for news of future Workshops and get involved!