I’ve started work on a new project. It’s called ‘Words on the Water’ and it’s a course of creative writing inspired by Newport Canal. Funding for this project has come through Public Health at Telford & Wrekin Council, in support of social prescribing through GP surgeries. Every week our group of friendly people come along to Cosy Hall on Water Lane and we set off down the towpath to observe, talk and make notes about what we see.
So the place is the same, but each day’s different. As someone wrote last week:
Distances are short
but thought is long.
Here’s a flavour of what we’ve created so far:
here’s willow branches dipping
kissing the canal
I saw a frog, he was playing dead
a lovely green body and a shapely head
at the black gate we’re locked out
behind the black gate, the black dog
lilies stand up like yellow lollipops
& children’s voices shrill out
With four rather marvellous collaborative class poems completed by Much Wenlock Primary School (South of the Severn) and Redhill Primary School (North of the Severn), I went back in to work with the children on creating individual poems. We did this by using their original Poem Notes, made outdoors, plus prompted writing I’d done with them after their trips – and then we developed these ideas to create tankas. Some drafts below:
Meantime, when they weren’t working on their tankas, the children were making huge poetry collages with artist Emily Wilkinson.
and then we wrote up the tankas onto postcards, and shared them –
Two Sides of the Severn has been developed and supported by Clore Poetry and Literature Awards, the Arts Council and the Trustees of Wenlock Poetry Festival.
My involvement in the Impressions of the Past project continues! A big, varied group of families and individuals from the local community converged to meet ceramicist Ruth Gibson and I in Pontesbury a couple of weeks ago. We all walked up through the green lanes and footpaths to Poles Coppice. Ruth got everyone making clay impressions, and I handed out Poem Notes booklets. Everyone set off to explore and write and make.
out of an owl’s eye/ the different/ views of winter
(part of a poem I put together using words the participants gave me up at Poles Coppice – you can read it here).
At lunchtime, we all headed back down to Pontesbury Public Hall, where archaeologists Mike and Teri gave a talk and slide show. Seriously channelling the Iron Age now, everyone set to and created new poems –
and I wrote one based on words I’d collected from the participants during the walk.