I’ve been working for Arvon for three years, and in that time I’ve been on two courses. My first course, Starting To Write Poetry at Totleigh Barton, is a distant memory now, but little did I know when I chose it quite how much the week would change my life.
Vicki Feaver and Jacob Polley, our tutors, taught us how to push open the ’saloon doors’ of our creativity and let ideas through. We were given new ‘rules’ to encourage the creative process and protect the precious time we put aside for it. I vividly remember Vicki trying to answer a question from Alex, another student on the course, about the difference between prose and poetry. The answer was that every word of a poem has to own its right to be there.
During the week I was a sponge, learning fast. And, as the days passed, I realised I was building a small pile of poems all based on my childhood growing up in Norfolk.
It happened that the group on my course were all women. These talented women became my friends and we stayed in touch once we left the nurturing embrace of Totleigh. Ruth, another member of the group, hosted a get-together for us all a few months after. She cooked us a delicious meal and we talked about poetry – we were all still buzzing from the course. It felt like we’d hardly started sharing and discussing our recent work around the table, before it was home time. We all realised we needed more time together and how valuable the support of the group was for our writing, so we met again, and again over the next few months. Our bonds grew and last summer, the group even had a week away in France! It was time now for another big step in our poetry journey together.
This month we have our first poetry reading in London, just over the road from Arvon’s National Office in the Free Word Centre. We’d love you to be there – meet us, hear some poetry and help us celebrate our journey so far. Take the opportunity to talk to some previous students if you are thinking of going on your own course.
Please join us at The Betsy Trotwood pub in Farringdon on Wednesday 25th May at 7:30pm. The event is free but capacity is limited so please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Rd, London EC1R 3BL
Keep writing, it’s good for you.
Love, Meg and the Hornets x
Meg Rumbelow Hemsley is the Development Administrator for Arvon, based in the National Office in London.