Last week I was invited to take part in a poetry workshop in Stratford’s Guildhall (and Shakespeare’s schoolroom).
It’s an amazing place. If you’re ever in Stratford, don’t miss it. Historian Michael Wood called it, “one of the most atmospheric, magical and important buildings in the whole of Britain.” Wow!
The workshop was led by poet and academic, John Wedgwood Clarke (you have to have a middle name like that if you’re going to be a poet, right?) and he was great. All the old school desks in the building are riddled with signatures and initials, engraved (no doubt with compasses and pen knives) by former pupils.
So, after a little warm-up exercise in which we roamed the building and wrote down everything we saw, the workshop was about ‘signatures’. We started by choosing one of the signatures in the desk in front of us and writing a short description of it and then we went on to think about our own signatures and the occasions on which we’ve used them.
Everyone in the group ended up with a beautiful poem (I know because they were all read out). A really inspiring way to spend an afternoon!
Today, by the way, it is my birthday (thank you, thank you!) and I’ve had a very relaxing day.
We don’t have Netflix and actually use DVDs (apparently, that’s hilarious. Tell me I’m not the only one?) and my OH bought me the first series of ‘The Crown’ which I’ve been dying to see. Oh-my-God it is brilliant! (if you like the Royals, which I do). We’ve already watched 3 episodes today (yes, they are an hour long! But I have also walked the dog – twice!) and I reckon we’ll probably squeeze in a fourth this evening.
I’m also reading a really good book – Robert Harris’s ‘Munich’, set just at the start of WW2. Writing has gone a bit ‘by the by’ just lately but I will get back into it. All this reading and viewing is topping up my well of creativity! (That’s my excuse, anyway and I’m sticking to it!).