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)


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)

cherry melancholia

Photo by Manuela Hoffman

cherry melancholia
Maria Sledmere

rain on the lawn; the greenness
dark and deep. a handful of shells
clotted in the mud with the blossoms,
the pink ones
from the cherry tree.

she walks out slowly,
snow petals swirling round her,

in the garden she will lie
where the grass is softest. she will lie
staring at the glass sky,
a sleepful of memory.

just love, the garden will say,
just love.
she forgot the place where he kissed her once—
it wasn’t here

but she returns anyway,
the grass feels sweet underneath her,
the air tastes golden, the first taste
of crab apples in autumn. love
set her going in spring, a silk cut
from a willow tree.

smoke rises in the distance
to the smell of cherry pie.
once he kissed her eyes, her cheeks;
he told her she was cinnamon.

in the garden now she is older,
older as the trees are, ring after ring
in each year, each reel of string
that she unwinds.

they come to bind
the sweet peas with twine.
bitter berries,
summer wine.

she is older
and the pie in her mouth now
is cloying; she is older
and the leaves are dying,
falling with the raindrops, the poor branches.

The garden speaks
now she is older, the rings round her eyes—
old pools of light, cherry pie,
of melancholia.

(prompts: eloquent, garden)


Ailsa Williamson

she strived to find
the good inside
the good beyond
and the ‘other’ foretold
she closed her eyes
and imagined within
a world of ‘other’
that was only a murmur
to tell a girl
‘do not eat
from that tree
of knowldege sweet’
the girl will then
start to wonder
what sort of knowledge
lies beyond now
what sort of ‘other’
is waiting thence
human passion
human desire
will spark a riot
spark a hunger
spark a hunger to succumb to
the serpent’s wiles
the serpent’s eyes
and the hunger will grow
until the bite is made
bait and all
the fish is caught
and all because
a hint was whispered
‘don’t eat from the tree
of knowledge sweet’

(Prompts: lil.jpg; desperation; perfection)

A rendez-vous

A rendez-vous

We walk together hand in hand
a soft breeze blowing
on this summer strand
and for ever we’ll keep going
this is my dream

And it’s perfect – she says softly
slides one arm around my waist
and each moment is so costly
that it cannot be replaced
this is my dream

You will see my love is true
she has sworn it many a time
and she’ll return and swear’t anew
all the needs is a bit more time
I know for it was in my dream

so now we sit here you and I
waiting for her, so you can see her too
I promise she’s the sweetest melody
and she’ll swear her vows anew
I know for it was in my dream

So now we sit here you and I
and sit and wait and sit and sit
Don’t grow impatient now, for my
love will be here, where we sit
it was in my dream

It was a dream and she’s not coming
no beach or sun
no soft embrace
a dream, a dream
a cloud         of air      that left        my
to disappear
it was a dream

(Prompts: disillusion, lover)


Ailsa Williamson

I waited for you
Under that tree
Waiting through the thunder
Waiting through the storm
Waiting whilst the ages past
Whilst the tempestbeasts soared
Living on the edge of the clouds
Waiting whilst the great marine beast swam
As he climbed onto shore
As his scales sprinkled to dust
Merging into soft feather
Then there was the fur-man
I waited
As uncertain as the world
As it spun slow
As the legends became myths
As truth became whispers
Speaking of
Things long forgotten
But still wait for you my lover
Under this tree
Lost in time

(prompts, 10733962_10205070078062022_8045882481527926859_n.jpg; disillusion, lover)

Johnny Blues (in Spanish and English)

Johnny Blues
Abel Rios

Semáforo en verde, cruza, sonríe, ‘buenos días’, ‘buenas’, ‘hey’
servilletas, cubiertos, menús, vasos,
rumores, comandas, sopa y pescado del día,
café y cigarro, brisa, caja y cierre
otra vez.

Qué será de mí ahí fuera sin ti mi amor?
Qué será de mí sin el sol? Sin sur en la brújula
el vaso vacío y la puerta fría,

La sopa del día son lentejas
y el pescado lenguado.


Green light, cross, smile, good mornings, you all rights, heys,
napkins, cutlery, menus, glasses,
gossips, orders, soup & catch of the day,
coffee and cigarrette, breeze, cash and close
and again.

What will be there without you my lover?
What will be there without sun? With no south on this compass
the empty glass and the cold door,
tell me…

The soup is ham and lentil
and the catch is haddock.

(prompts: disillusion, lover)