I’ve written poetry since I was a child. But if it weren’t for the poetry workshops and courses I went to as I got older, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now.
Workshops and courses aren’t just about learning writing strategies and techniques. They’re about opening our horizons, pushing our limits, being introduced to new writers. They’re about gaining inspiration, listening to criticism, and validating ourselves as writers. Importantly, they’re also about support, fun - and lasting friendships.
I work with a range of literary organisations - including the Poetry School, the Poetry Society, the Wordsworth Trust, the National Writer’s Centre for Wales and the Arvon Foundation – running courses and workshops for individuals of all ages, at all levels of ability, confidence and experience.
As well as working in writing organisations, poetry festivals, residential writer’s centres and educational settings, I’ve delivered workshops in a wide range of more unusual settings - from Rampton High Security Hospital to the Rotary Club. My workshops are friendly, fun and inclusive, and I love to work with participants who would otherwise feel excluded from poetry.
The following represents some of the feedback I received from some of the thirty 11-13 year olds I was lucky enough to work regularly with over 18 months, as part of the Wordsworth Trust West Coast Schools outreach programme.
I learnt poetry can be anything.
I had freedom to write what I wanted. I could imagine and dream.
I wrote a lot of things till my hands ached
I have learnt how to write fast and clear by forgetting about everything else.
I learnt about William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy
I’ve learnt how to write poetry and where it comes from.
I learnt to put my painful stories into poems
I learnt other poets have been through a lot
I learnt to never give up