26 April 2021
Posted by Tabby Hayward
This week, we were looking at the Young Poets' Network tenth anniversary celebration challenge - to choose one of their previous Young Poets challenges to respond to!
Looking through the website, there are so many, very varied, challenges to respond to - in this workshop, we looked at two of them - writing about trees (https://ypn.poetrysociety.org.uk/workshop/begin-afresh-afresh-afresh-a-poetry-challenge/) and creating kennings (https://ypn.poetrysociety.org.uk/workshop/land-of-the-ocean-noise-create-your-own-kennings/).
Looking at tree poems, the young writers started by imagining a tree they knew well - maybe one from their/a relative's garden, from a park/wood they regularly walk in, a childhood memory, a Christmas tree, etc - though some also imagined a more fantastical tree, such as Neelesh's money tree, or Safir's oreo tree!
They started at the bottom of the tree and worked their way up, noting down colours, textures, shapes, and smells from their chosen tree, and finally thought about why this particular tree (or trees in general!) were important, to them, or to the world! We looked at examples of poems about trees, from the opening of Derek Walcott's epic poem 'Omeros', to Jackie Kay's 'The Kindness of Trees', A.F. Harrold's 'In The Tree's Defence' and Sean Hewitt's 'I sit and eavesdrop the trees'.Then the young writers thought about how they might want to write their own tree poems - whose perspective were they going to write from (theirs? the tree's?), how did they want it to look on the page (long or short, in a particular shape, broken up into verses or one big block, etc) and whether they wanted to use any rhyme or particular sounds.
Finally, putting this all together, we heard a fantastic range of tree poems! We hope many of these will be submitted to Young Poets Network, along with some fantastic kennings (from Leo's kennings for the moon, to Evie's for a pen!)
We also had to take a moment to celebrate Eve's brilliant success on making the longlist for the John Keats YPN challenge, on Keats and illness, which we looked at in a workshop before half term. Congratulations Eve - it's a wonderful poem!