Last Thursday (6/10/16), I made my way down to The Museum of Futures in Surbiton to celebrate National Poetry Day and what a celebration it was! The whole event was run by Lucy Furlong and she did a fantastic job. Geared toward adults and children alike, the day/evening included activities like Haiku in a Bottle, Messages of Light, Poetry Lucky Dip, and more.
Each of these may seem simple on the surface, but take a second look. Haiku offer a superb introduction to formal poetry. They’re compact, but done well, they can really pack a punch. Also, experiencing the generative power of formal constraints can be a real eye-opener to people who’ve only ever dabbled in free verse.
On the other hand, the Lucky Dip takes an almost Dadaist approach and makes experimentation fun and accessible. Instead of forcing people to write when they don’t think of themselves as authors, it gives them pieces of language to play with. That way, writing becomes a game where people can ask themselves and each other ‘What can we do with these words and sentences? Can we re-order them into something that actually makes sense?’ And, more importantly, ‘Is making sense always the most important thing?’
Sometimes, though, people just need a starting point, a prompt. Left to their own devices, they’ll rack their brains and stare into space, but tell them to write a little note about light and/or light houses and the ideas come pouring out.
To cap off the event, everyone was given an opportunity to read anything that they had worked on, brought along, or prepared for the occasion. Below, you can see some (low quality phone camera) images of the evening and read a few of the things I cooked up while participating. Happy National Poetry Day everyone!
For Haiku in a Bottle:
At the beginning
of October, there was rain –
then there were rainbows.
For Messages of Light:
In fair weather,
like a Christmas tree
at any other time of year.
For the Lucky Dip:
Lots of Love
reverting to a bog in the bracken.
To feel nostalgia for the present; already
he saw the weather written on the pane.
“Oh, come, come, come,” Said the sardine’s mum.
“Pedal at first, then let the road take you down
and lollop round the pick-up truck.
Blossom where the rose should grow.”