The poetry school in Lambeth comes up trumps!

They run poetry courses with well respected poets who can teach! In my experience writing poetry and teaching are not always compatible. However it is a bonus if the courses are playful and fun thus enabling ever-optimistic students to light sparks of creativity.


                                                 This is Tim.

I met Tim Dooley (‘Imagined Rooms’ and other books of poetry)  in the summer.  I  liked his approach and this new course is about developing a personal style.

I’ve been up to the Poetry School jn Lambeth for eight weeks now!  A bit of marathon from Brighton in bad weather. Bus to station, train to London, bus, another bus, then scrunch my way through fallen leaves in the park and with luck arrive on time.

One has to ‘suffer for one’s art’ as they say!

Tim brings poems that make useful points regarding style, fits in  one to one tutorials, arranges group work, has us all writing in class every week and sets homework!  I’ve got a useful pile of notes and several drafts for new poems.

This week is the penultimate class, we are to bring our most promising ideas, share in pairs and help each other settle on a new poem.

It’s my turn along with three other students to take a poem to be workshopped by the group.  I decide to take in ‘Minding Grandpa’  although it’s already been tweaked by ‘the ‘great and the good’ elsewhere I felt it had lost its soul! Luckily everyone is constructive and  suggest just a few minor improvements.

We look at the work of two of the other poets in the group, all so different in style and content. It’s a bonus that I feel I know fellow students through their poetry in quite an intimate way.

Leave dead on time,  run through the leaves, catch the bus, change at Lambeth Palace, catch the train, the bus in Brighton, ring partner on mobile. He comes to get me from bus stop! Whew home again just after midnight feeling a bit like a bedraggled Cinderella!


(the following link to the earlier event may be of interest

Final version of Minding Grandpa

Grandpa sits in silence twisting threads on a white
wooden frame with rows of neat nails on each side.

Weaving patterns with silky thread recovering
from the Great war and comrades lost on the Somme.

Forbidden by Grandma from talking
of gas, madness or months of recuperation.

Memories fall into the safety of the sitting room,
shiny bodkins glint in the sun like bayonets.

His fingers unroll a length of gold as tales of the dead
suddenly return and his eyes fill with tears.

He whispers to me about a hospital ship blown to pieces
and jabs a line of blue twine into the emerging mat.

A screech from his green parrot breaks his somber mood.
He smiles and ties a golden knot .in triumph.

Polly pads along his arm, sings ‘Roll Out the Barrel’.
I gather up Grandpa’s wayward threads.



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