Ask two poets to write on the same subject and their poems will almost certainly look quite different from one another. Next Thursday, 19th November, I’m running an online poetry workshop for Alarum Productions with a few tips on how to shape a poem. How long will the lines be? How long will the poem be? Will it be separated into stanzas? Will there be some rhyming going on…? The subject of the poem will be the writer’s choice and anyone who likes to write is welcome. Inspired by poems from published poets, we will write our own words and play with arranging them on the page.
In order to support those on little or no income, one place will be free of charge. Click here for full details and to book. (Kate’s workshop has already taken place so scroll down a little way for the relevant info.)
I’ve published eight poetry collections. Here I am signing copies of The Muck and Shovel Brigade, commissioned by Canal & River Trust for The Ring project in 2018. The photographs in the book are by Max Sinclair (featured in yesterday’s blog about The Battle of Stourbridge) and one of the poems is dedicated to him. I’ve copied that poem below. It can also be seen on a display board alongside the lock at Vines Park, Droitwich.
The waterside his playground, he loved the thrill
of Severn barges, the grace of steamers.
Delighted by freeze and frost, he skated the cut to Droitwich,
played ice hockey matches at Hanbury Wharf.
At Hawford he watched Italian prisoners fill in the channel,
block it with concrete for D-Day tanks, sever the cut,
butcher Brindley’s beautiful bridge,
too steep, too lightweight for war.
His beloved canal abandoned, water seeping away, one day
he wrote to the Birmingham Mail, and that’s how it started.
Battling the threat of M5 spoil, three hundred thousand tons
of mud and soil and a tangle of hostility and inertia,
whether caked in mud, shovelling dirt, or dressed in a suit for persuasion,
he knew the value of patience, grit and determination.
© Heather Wastie