Thursday, 7 August 2014

Artists Rifles Poetry workshop

Artists Rifles Exhibition
I took a day off from the novel yesterday (I need some mulling time anyway) and set off down to Basingstoke in Hampshire for a day of art and poetry. I was there for the Artists Rifles exhibition at the Willis Museum and to attend a two hour poetry workshop based on the exhibition and run by Hampshire Poet Joan McGavin.

I arrived early so I had time to see the exhibition at my leisure. It wasn't a huge display but interesting. As well as paintings there were cases of uniforms, sketchbooks and other memorabilia as well as a seven minute video. This came at an interesting point - not longer after the study day I attended on WWI artists - so it was all still fresh in mine.

The afternoon took place in the Function Room covering the whole top floor of the museum. The ceiling was rather impressive - painted in what I call a Wedgwood blue, with cream cornices. The table we worked at was large, made of solid wood with a leather(?) inlay. Just right for us writers!

Joan was great - very relaxed and came armed with some clipboards and a sheet of questions. She asked us to go and look around the exhibition and pick one object, answer the questions and make notes. On our return Joan gave us another sheet with tips on writing and suggested we take one answer we'd given or a line we'd written to start our poem. After about twenty-five minutes it was that scary time of sharing! It was interesting to hear what others had written and which painting or object they had chosen.So many powerful images came out. I didn't think my efforts were very good and I'd not written a great deal but as I read it out I was more satisfied with my beginning. Joan gave feedback on our poems and made suggestions. We were then given a final sheet with suggestions on re-drafting our poems.

Our class was small - just five of us - but everyone had written poetry before and at least three of us had published poems. We all came away with something to work on and at £5 for the workshop it was amazing value.

This afternoon I completed a second draft of my poem so I'm getting there. What was lovely is that Joan offered to feedback on our final poems if we wished!

For those interested the exhibition runs until 27th September after which it moves to the Gosport Discovery Centre.

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