Work out or work shop? Depends what you intend to exercise – in the case of a recent visit to Delapre Abbey Northants, it was my brain. It all started with one of those websites I sign up to – ie all of them – this particular one being Literary Festivals UK. Well, LFUK popped into my inbox way back one snowy day in February and under the title ‘new festivals’ I found a note about a half-day spring poetry workshop being run at Delapré Abbey by author Kevan Manwaring. The session included a wander around the newly refurbished Abbey gardens where hopefully we would discover inspiration flourishing in its many forms.
And what an inspiring afternoon it turned out to be. 12 of us – including a real live poet – (he was very good) embraced the three hour session with gusto and we all, tentatively, wrote and read out some poetry. Now, I have never alluded to any ability to write a jaw-dropping poem, or even – let’s face it – A Poem – due to the poets’ part of my mind often redirecting itself to limerick-land for far longer than is healthy, but this time we were kept on track by Kevan’s light yet inspiring touch and his wonderful choice of Spring poems. If we didn’t find anything to kick-start our creative motors then we didn’t have the right to refer to ourselves as writers.
Some of the writers at the workshop were too shy to share their work, others did but felt dissatisfied with their effort. The same could be said for a lot of people to whom writing poetry doesn’t come easily. But don’t be put off – imagine a poem as a cross between a winding stream and a work of art: unique to the artist (that’s you) but free, unhampered and creating its own path (the evolution of the work, just like a stream) and just go with it. The more you paint, the better the picture…
There once was a woman from Surrey
Who married a man up near Bury
But the cold northern weather
Couldn’t keep them together
And she moved back down south in a hurry
An overweight old man from Dover
Dropped dead in a large field of clover
The farmer that found him
Had to harvest around him
Concerned about over-exposure
Think I’ll stick to short stories…
The first ever Festival of Books at Delapré Abbey will run over the second May Bank Holiday weekend. There’ll be Author talks in the Victorian library, Bookstagram talks, Book signings and meet the author, Workshops, Storytelling, Career talks, Magazine presentations and more. And most importantly, a Children’s writing competition… Here Here!!