The Public, Participation and the Poembola

Every working poet earns their living through a mixture of writing, reading, reviewing, teaching and project work. Because I work for the Poetry Society and I manage my own independent poetry projects for a living, I’ve decided that the one thing I haven’t got space for in my poetry life is teaching: I don’t run workshops or courses. (I know lots of people who do though, so if that’s what you need, drop me a line).

What I do offer is light touch public drop-in sessions to work with non-poets to create poems – either via frameworks to help them write their own, or via an idea collection system that will help me shape their words into one poem.

I’ve worked on sessions everywhere from allotments to airshows to create collaborative poems, and I’ve run drop-in sessions in arts centres, picnic grounds and festivals to help people with personal poems.

Occasionally, I’ll bring along The Poembola: a raffle drum full of a thousand pocketable words. Give it a spin, pull out a word, write a poem which features that word. I also like running poetry and origami sessions, decorating spaces with flocks of origami birds or butterflies with poetic messages inside.

Let me know if you’d like me to bring The Poembola or another bespoke drop in session to your event.


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