the world still by noticing how the world moves. Butterflies
fear the pins of this method, I fear what happens
after the pinhole at the end of this sentence.” —Bob Hicok, ‘Waiting For My Foot To Ring’.
I’m on the road, running masterclasses for poets who want to develop their teaching practise and work in education up and down the country. Southampton at the beginning of the week, Norwich yesterday, Birmingham today and six more to go. Six hours of tools, techniques, challenges and practical issues, and there’s so much to cover.One of the things I’ve underlined in every session is the need within a workshop to establish an awareness of goals. I always try to create some space for the people I’m working with to let me know what it is that they want to get out of our time. Or at least to ensure that the people I’m working with feel they’re being listened to. One of my goals is to encourage my students/participants to claim ownership of their experience. The reality is that many of the students I meet in my school visits didn’t come to class for a poetry workshop. They’re sitting in front of me because someone else has decided that they have to be there, that they have to learn something about poetry, or that poetry might be an interesting way to explore some other subject. But I don’t want to try to push ideas into anyone’s head by brute force— ideally, I want minds open and ready to receive. So I listen. I create a space where listening is a valuable act.
There are three sets of goals to consider in any workshop: your own, as the facilitator; the teacher or institution who/which has booked you; and the students/participants you’re working with. Your challenge: to balance those (sometimes conflicting) considerations and create (curate?) a valuable, meaningful experience.
Not to forget, the workshops we run as poets can allow our students to open up and explore parts of themselves that they don’t reveal to the teachers (and even other students) they see every day. If there’s no value placed on the act of listening, those revelations go unheard, if they even happen at all.
(via Robert Greco)
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.” —Mary Oliver, from “When Death Comes” (via Rachel Mennies)
I’m heading to Latvia today to run poetry/performance workshops, feature at a local poetry festival, survey the local slam scene and deliver a lecture on the relationship between my city and my poetry. I get to spend the time with poet, performer and novelist Aoife Mannix, and I’ll be travelling with my brand new second-hand Bronica ETRSI. Looking forward to a few days out of the country…