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Playing at families

Many years ago I wrote a poem called ‘Playing at Families’ in which I imagined that my parents were tiny dolls that slept in matchboxes. It revealed a lot to me about my relationship with them. The writing of the poem brought me a new thought; this exercise uses a similar premise.

Pick an older family member that you know and love. They must be older. They don’t need to be living, they just need to be incredibly vivid and present in your mind’s eye. Turn them into a toy. If this person was a toy, which toy would they be? A yoyo? A train set? An empty dolls-house? A scrabble board with a few letters missing? You don’t necessarily have to know why you’ve picked this image, it can be a totally instinctive choice, you just need to commit to it once you’ve chosen it. Now ask yourself, how would you play with them? Don’t worry about explaining or decoding your poem, just think in imagery; tug on your thread of an idea and let it lead you into the poem… see where it goes….

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Vuja de

‘New experiences’ are often cited as creative fuel but let’s face it, life can be repetitive, most of…

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Break your lines

Do read Ann and Peters writing tip first that goes with this exercise: Have a look at…

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Blank verse

We’re often asked about lineation. How we put the words (or how they put themselves) on the page…

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Experimenting with structure

Try experimenting for a week or two, using a structure you’re not used to – perhaps a form,…

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Getting it written, getting it right

We’re fond of quoting Hunter Davies, the great biographer of the Beatles and Alfred Wainwright (and Wayne Rooney),…

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Trusting the power of gravity

As a competitive fellrunner (and avid cyclist, mountaineer, swimmer etc. etc. you get the idea) I’m fascinated by…

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Don’t write poems – write an artwork, a musical composition, a dance

What if we quit thinking of poetry as a literary form, and instead conceive of it as a…

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Expressing the inexpressible

This exercise is very simple, but it’s an exercise that touches on both the material and language of…

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Writing the unspoken

quicken: to accelerate; to impart energy or liveliness to; to invigorate; to stimulate; to give life to; to…

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An art collaboration

You don’t have to know an artist to collaborate with them. They don’t even need to be alive….

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Drafting and editing poetry

Write poetry by hand. Go on, try it, even if you always write directly on the computer. I…

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