Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Making poetry : sharing learning 2

For the last 6 and half years I have been very fortunate to be the poet-in-residence at a local Hospice.  The wonderfully generous staff and volunteers have allowed me to hone my poetry facilitation skills over the years and together we have written over 20 poems.

This has been a very rewarding activity and everyone in the room contributes to a group poem. This has been a unique experience and many people have commented on how much they enjoy the process and surprise themselves with their language skills and creativity.

As this project has developed I have shared this process with a number of people and have become more confident with the contexts in which this approach to making poetry can be utilised.

With that in mind the team invited me to do “your stuff with words” as a finale to their new 6 week community based rehabilitation project. I agreed to this but went to the first session with some trepidation, mindful of the fact that the group had been together for 6 weeks and that I would be an interloper coming along to ask them to use words to explore their experiences of the group. I needn’t have been so worried; the staff are so good at including folk in their sessions that they made sure  I joined in with the exercises and immediately felt calmer about what I would do.

Listening to participants over a cup of tea it became clear that they had bonded as a group and that this was an important component of the sessions. Picking up on this I decided to use Evoke Cards to explore words that capture what they have appreciated about the programme. As this developed we realised that a poem needed to be the outcome. Below is an image of the  Evoke cards arranged by participants into a poem.

Today I have been back to meet the second group and this time I used both the Evoke cards and the Fink Cards that I have recently purchased. All participants enjoyed choosing words and then each took a turn to share why they chose the words. This was a moving session where both the programme participants and the staff would share what they valued about the group, each other and the processes they had been experiencing. After the sharing it was agreed that a poem ought to be made!! Below are a couple of images of the cards arranged into a poem.

I wanted to share this as it was such an affirming and affecting experience – I always say to myself at the beginning of each session to “trust the process” and this was very true today. So much learning but for the moment I just wanted to share the experience rather than intellectualise and analyse it.




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