Notes from Workshop 7: Poetry Corner

To ease us into POVEMBER we covered various forms of poetry this week. Here are some of the notes and creations from one of our groups (Maria, James, Heather). If anyone else has stuff to share that they came up with, please email it to — we look forward to reading it! x

We brainstormed around a colour theme before individually writing haiku. 
‘Ode to Donald’ featuring a corn candy windmill (Trump hates windmills, and corn candy is obviously quintessentially American). 
Some scrappy first draft ‘free verse’ – Maria

Cut-Up Creations


This week in our first workshop of the New Year, we got out the glue and scissors in a flashback to primary school art lessons, and made some cut-up poetry.

Far from being a lazy or un-creative way of making poetry, cut-up and blackout poems require careful thought in choosing and arranging words and phrases not only to make some sort of grammatical sense, but also to carry poetic images that are thought provoking.

We were really happy and impressed with this weeks creations, with everything from comments on climate change, depression and relationships, to some very succinct and outrageous rap-lyric-esque contributions from our Vice President… (ahem…)

Below are photographs of the poems, along with transcriptions. Isn’t it interesting how the typeface, colours, and sizes of the words can affect how you read the poems, and how the lack of usual punctuation can create interesting ambiguities and multiple possible readings?

Who’d have thought poison pen letters could be so profound…



Poem 1

Searching for:
crazy-ish wild
Scatter time well little beauties
free the choice
think light when the winter…
damage going visibly,
if only…
crafted paradox
don’t explain… discover


Poem 2

Rain slashing against walls
all tired wet cold hungry
tempers fray.
To run nearly succeeds
everyone malfunctioning
works, my brain doesn’t.
Effort condescending
suddenly this day new crown
I’ve begun battling
have been more comfortable.
What the hell are we doing to ourselves?
The answer is quite simple.

Poem 3

Brooding scenery. GRAND TOUR!
leading EVENT beginning!
It’s gone quiet…

(By Heather)



“The positivity of the long white cloud”
extraordinary trips with extraordinary people,
distant journeys become difficult,
someone familiar doesn’t behave,
stargazing in deep water.
Quick! Telegraph the plan!
Sail through the week,
(tackling in reverse)
from friendly free pitfalls.
Tiny dancers and big finales
from only a shot of colour.
Easy to control,
a new problem flies
from secret puzzles to the cruel disaster…
the death of a special book
(the one that made you cry)
and if it matters to you?


Unexpected skies
a sparkle in heaven.
It’s sooner in my dreams

We explore the amazing and beautiful spectacle

They’re invisible
we’ve left again.
You needn’t hurl against its

(By Maura)



He studies his cold vanilla personality, routinely
I love his demands of only tears and his sparse charisma
I would be flattered he should answer,
I assumed someone decides you are better suited unfurled
it suggests that first taste of beige love, typically gripping a lost illusion
I left promptly for attention to replace you
I don’t think this is the right way either.

What turns me on
The peace, no
Lionel Richie music

(By James)



Travel the dark river
of riches
This is a message from your undiscovered passion
and my undiscovered art
The King wasn’t sure about Baroque
Let’s talk of the theatre of luck
and of the demise of
the most unique and ancient garden…
The world


people who knew
of the person that I had received
between the cracks
maddeningly elusive,
a legend became notorious
A bright villain emerges – wild
admired and despised
The reason his story produced no art
isn’t to be forgotten.
rumour was tainted by the tiniest lives.
he set through the veils
of history’s fire
and seemed destined
to work
paid in death
to see her, in life.
But I have described candidly
something of a boy
who left no legacy
and was fabled.

(By Rachel)



How you defeat time
go bigger do more
the best you can
mania free
go on


The geek who predicted
Your choice
too small
that we scatter a few

(By Zahne)



Do you always feel slightly sad?
That’s the disease
pull up a chair…
I’ve found the secret
the only definition you’ll ever need
live a fuller life
push the boat out
change your life
help your loved ones
eat a rainbow
own more time in bed
I sort of briefly went up in flames
He wept a few times

You slide easily
Any doubts are dispelled
I’m not alone
The warmth takes over

(By Stefan)



David Cameron
smog levels
Oil price
CO2 emissions
“bedroom tax”
terrorist attack

(Hayley C)



The future abandoned forgot?
A gray glorious gloom
suffocating sweaty furnace
recycling bright history
star dreamers
dance heads up



like Nemo
it is the colour of a smile
or if passion is a flavour
it might seem like a fresh morning
with the warmest fire
like a cold, blue day
can be a particularly exciting adventure



Feeling down


relationships shouldn’t be
out of the shadows of last night’s
shaking fury
show me
your booty


(By Hayley R)

Reminder for POVEMBER

So November may be over but there’s still time to send us your poems! Anyone can enter, whether you attend our meetings or not :)

Feel free to go back over any of the prompts from previous days on the POVEMBER page, or else try out the ones from the 30th: ‘contemplate, press, end’. There’s a submission form on the POVEMBER page or else you can email your work along with your name and a title to


— Thanks to everyone who has submitted already, it’s been really fun reading all your work!


West Coast

West Coast

I paced the beach a lot as a teenager,
supposing it was a way of being lost,
going lost, finding my lostness
in the sound of the waves, seagulls
in the eaves of a sky cast black
by fire and onyx.

There were shells stuck in my skin,
bits of them sharp and ridged as glass. Adolescence.
Bottles of Bacardi and Glens
in remnants of lovelorn summers—
each one dug deeper as I walked
and I felt the call of the sea
like a summons. Come back to me

—the waves were strange consolation.
I loved
the loneliness of the sea, its sense of otherness,
of distant worlds, blue and green.

Salt spray
in the faces of children;
sand dunes
where we gathered for drinking and smoking,
wasting time
in the dry ice of shared menthols.

You dig your heels deep
by the shoreline, where your feet sink soft
through the mulch of watery sand,
sinking as if to drift down,
to ease yourself out of matter.

I paced the beach a lot on weekday evenings,
while cars passed behind me, while
normal people went home.
I learned to love
the gulls that croaked on the rocks,
crying cormorants, gannets
and black-feathered auks—
I always longed to spot an albatross,
imagining its body swooping
out of the sea fog
like an omen.

I thought I had forgotten these shores,
the way it felt to know nothing
of what would come; great drawings
dissolved in the tidal pull—come with us.
I thought this world was lost;
I thought
I had lost it all.

by Maria S.

(prompt: seagull photo)


Opposite sides of the road, waiting for the little green man.

An old lady mutters near me, impatient, laden with plastic bags.

I can’t wait to pass you in the middle,

I know that the beeping and the grumbling engines will fall silent,

As I catch your gaze.

But today is one of those days –

Headphones firmly in and beanie hat pulled down tight,

Your eyes never lift from the tarmac

That glisters with frost in this cold month.

You’re like an animal that hibernates, so tentative in every winter breath.

When it was warm you used to catch my gaze. In the summer

When I wore jeans and a belly top,

And not this school skirt, with the wool socks,

And broken plimsolls,

Around cold wet toes.

I wonder if we will cross paths again in the summer when I’m seventeen,

And I wonder–

“Eh, love – the light’s just gone green.”


By Rachel Norris

(Prompts: wistful, traffic lights, Alan Warner quote)



The trees are knotted
in the spot where the bluebells grow
in June.

Gnarling, their roots twist
into strange, exotic shapes—
Spirals and triangles, spikes
like barbed wire.

We used to sit here
as children. We knew the notch,
the dark hard eye,
the tender part which you cut
to get the sap out.

Everything here is a cycle;
there is no flow of time,
no regress or

In summer the frost fades
to forget-me-nots;
through the canopy, long
into the evening, light lingers
in splinters and sparkles.

So I return;
the trees seem to whistle.
You hear their singing, its softness
like pining. Walk with me.

The greenness changes with the seasons.
Now I look upon it,
these tufts of grass, these oak leaves
glow with yellow fire—
chocolate, chestnut, cinnabar.

I look upon the colour, my fingers
scratching the eye. Its hardness
comes apart like ice.

I stare into that black spot,
the cavernous passage laden with frost,
the eye like a moon.

In the copper of twilight I see you again:
grass in your hair,
bluebells in June.

by Maria S.

(Prompts: green-man.jpg, passage, degeneration)

Doomed Affection

You press your hand against mine and my grip
is limp, lacking the conviction you desire.
I cannot, I can’t, be that thing that you need.

Your eyes are on me, and I can feel their weight
like kidney stones pushing hard against a nerve.
Because I cannot, I can’t, look at you like that.

I turn my gaze away, let the music play, and speak
the words I never will. My conscience is too ill,
to say the lines, so I miss my cue.

It’s like a dress rehearsal for a cancelled play,
this doomed affection.

By Rachel Norris

(Prompts: conscience, ill / disillusion, lover)

The Mirror

We sit together, face to face
Alone in quite, empty space
Alone, unconscious, still I dread,
Alone these thoughts jump in this head.

If I could trace around these eyes
those formless shapes, of which, comprise
the depth our memories echo through,
I would not feel alone with you.

And, somewhere, am I still here.
And knowing not if far or near,
And knowing not who moves this hand,
Not knowing if I understand.

A world lies behind the glass,
reflected, filtered through this mask.
And, thus, I often fail see,
what’s truly real. Image or me?

By O.N.

(Prompt: Reflection)

A Man

A man is a man is a man is not a man is a pussy is a jerk is a victim is a rapist is a murderer is a hero a man is a boy is a child is a grandpa is a dad is a friend is SIMPLE is straight is superior is a dick is a prick is a pig is a gentleman is COMPLICATED – AMEN


By S.M.

(Prompts: “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”- Marcus Aurelius)