Poetry Parnassus: Underground Poetry by the Thames

During Poetry Parnassus here in London, at Southbank, I went to a poetry workshop run by Poems On The Underground. I joined a small group of people led by an older woman, armed with clipboard, paper and pen. Thanks to London's wonderful transport system, (and admittedly, my own slight lateness), I'd missed about 5 minutes of the workshop, so arrived as the group was completing the first task: Write three lies about yourself. I listened as the group all lied in turn, and we moved to the next task, which was to write three fantasies. I slightly misunderstood and wrote three big lies - but what we had to write was three IMPOSSIBLE things. My statements were all possible, but they still did their job, which was to spark a poem idea. One girl wrote about her pet lion called Jeffrey, which was pretty cool. She'd written it from the perspective of a rejected lover, and the mixing of the two 'plots' was nicely done. Another wrote about a pink unicorn, which was slightly too bright and colourful and girlish for my liking, but interesting all the same. I didn't feel too self-conscious reading out my own poem, it felt really good to be there and share our works and learn together. We were all given a little piece of paper with tips on writing better poetry, which I kept and re-read when I need a little prompting.

We then all split up for 15 minutes to write a poem from the point of view of an object, place, landmark.. We were encouraged to all write about the Thames, so we could all compare. I wasn't too happy about my Thames poem, as it felt too forced, but later that day, when I was home, I reworked my first poem and was quite satisfied with it. The workshop was a lot of fun, and the organiser told us that she'd really liked our group, and we were just the right number of people. She even took a group photo! We were then given free Poems On The Underground booklets, and invited to take some posters with us. The poems "The Thunderbolt's Training Manual" and "Should You Die First" are now happily blu-tacked to my wall.

We all promised to email our poems, and parted ways.

I then wandered into the Poetry Library and enjoyed reading a book about writing poetry, which I want to read more of soon, and keep working on my poetry..


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