I belong to a poetry group

Does that sound like a confession?  Maybe it is.

If I don’t make every meeting it’s because sometimes I’ve not caught up with myself.  Otherwise, one evening per month should be achievable, and it’s etched not only in my diary, but into my memory.

miki-byrneI look forward to my two hours with Miki Byrne, and the gathering of local poets she hosts.  Some are published, some are not.  It doesn’t matter which any of us are.  One of the best things about the various writing groups I’ve been to is that our interest in writing creates a common ground, and a safe space to experiment in.

I think of myself as a prose-writer, but I do love poetry.  There are poems that I go back to over and over, at critical moments, or for reflection, mood, and inspiration.  Want to write with economy, depth and precision?  Here’s a  form of literature that demonstrates some of the most intriguing and exciting ways it can be done.

In the poetry group we share the risk of words.

And I do mean risk.  My adrenalin flows.

I go to be challenged.  A topic is introduced.  I start with nothing, but a warm-up writing exercise soon provides ideas.  As the exercise progresses, I untangle the threads of my thoughts, take up one of them and follow it.  I don’t know where it’s going, or what I’m going to say, but along with everyone else, I’m writing myself into a scenario.  Images are forming, building, becoming something I’m intrigued by, linking into ideas that matter to me.

We’re all in the same boat, with the same supplies, yet we each produce something individual.  Yes, these pieces are rough, but they’re first, or at most, second drafts.

We read them out, half-made as they are.  That’s not about bravery, it’s a chance to get some instant feedback.  This is not the time for in-depth critiques (that happens at a later stage), the audience and I are hearing my words, as I will hear theirs, for the first time.

Sharing gives us some ideas about important questions, such as:

  • Does it flow?
  • Does it say something?
  • What did I like about it?
  • Which part caught their attention?
  • Where might I expand it?

Everyone reads, maybe initially that’s because everyone else reads.  But ultimately, in my observation, they read because not to read is to miss-out on a vital part of the process.

The poetry group is giving me a portfolio of ideas to work on, ideas that I might not have stumbled on, drifting along on my own. Some may not go anywhere: but I go back to most of them, sooner of later.

9 thoughts on “I belong to a poetry group

  1. I enjoyed this blog very much, I have been attempting poems for a while but have never had the courage to do it in company. You make it sound fun – but still scary😃 . It does sound as though it’s a great place to generate and begin developing ideas.
    Thanks, Cath, for introducing me to Miki Byrne – she makes me want to read some more contemporary poets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘..we share the risk of words.’ That’s lovely. A line for a poem perhaps. Great think of poetry as a white-knuckle ride.
      You capture your poetry group experience powerfully. It sounds like a perfect place to experiment and develop.
      I love poetry too. I favour poems with rhythm and rhyme, perhaps because I also love music and they can feel like spoken songs.
      It seems as if poetry is a bit of a poor relation these days. Certainly it’s not very sought after in the shop. It’s a shame and actually rather baffling. You’d think in this age of diminishing attention spans that a short, accessible form would be popular.
      I hope you continue to enjoy your monthly poetical adrenalin rush, Cath. Perhaps we might sample the results here sometime?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I still remember some of your poems, Ruth, after how many years? No, don’t count.
        So, where are they now? If I post one of my poems here, will you be posting more of yours on your blog, too?

        Surprisingly, the poetry scene here feels strong; and, not only with writers. There is an excellent WEA tutor here who leads regular appreciation courses that are very popular. I wonder if that might be a side-line in your future plans…It would seem like a natural shoe-in for a bookshop – does that count as a mixed metaphor?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Haha! Better than a book-in for a shoe shop anyway. Funnily enough, we do have poetry on the extracurricular agenda. And…point taken. Gauntlet is off and the gloves are down. (That counts as a confused metaphor) 😁💖

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading…and responding, Mike.

      You’ve made the first step towards writing and reading poems in public, by posting your confession here…

      I’m so glad you’ve followed up and enjoyed Miki’s poems. I like to be useful

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The diversity of imagination and ideas is wonderful isn’t it. I’m not good at instant creation (or almost instant) I need to think and reflect and let pictures come into my head for hours, days, weeks, sometimes, before I can put pen to paper. I think you were incredibly brave picking up the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think of writing-groups as ‘brain-storming’ opportunities, enabling me to create content that I can take away to reflect on.
      And it’s surprising how much a good group-leader can inspire.
      Bravery might have applied to the first time I stepped through the door of a writing group, after that, I was drawn to them.


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