22 Jun 2020 / Groups
Participants worked with Roger Robinson and Malika Booker to help them identify ideas important to them, and developed these ideas into work that communicated the depth of their feeling.
Through theatre and art, Good Chance creates new kinds of communities to collaborate with artists from across the world and connect people, stories and cultures.
In March, Arvon welcomed a group from the Change the Word poetry collective to The Hurst, The John Osborne Arvon Centre in Shropshire for a 5-day residential course. Change the Word brings together communities who may never otherwise meet, working with refugees, asylum seekers and people who have lived here all their lives.
Tutored by award-winning poets Roger Robinson and Malika Booker, the week brought together writers from different backgrounds and cultures, with a wide range of experiences in both their lives and their writing. Change the Word is a space for sharing voices, for sharing food, for sharing humanity – a mission which chimes exactly with Arvon’s own, as Good Chance’s Emily Webb explains:
Every person in the group described themselves leaving feeling like a family. And I have no doubt that that is down to the Arvon magic mixture of space to write, an inspirational place to write in, inspirational people to teach them and write alongside, and a home that creates that sense of family for many people who don’t have their families with them in this country.
Working with Malika and Roger, the group produced a poetry anthology together, growing in confidence throughout the week in their writing, developing their personal styles and falling back in love with poetry.
“It gave me the confidence to trust my thought process and write poetry. This has been the chance of a lifetime for me and I have enjoyed every moment. Thank you Arvon.” – group participant
After an impromptu evening of pakora making the night before with Nazia, one of the group, showing everyone how to make the best pakoras they’d ever had – the anthology was finalised, and affectionately entitled Pakora Poetry Party: A book of poems that chose us.
Jasem, a participant on the week, described how he had loved poetry many years ago in Iran, and that he felt like he had lost it in the years since he had been in his home country. In his submission to the anthology, he writes how Arvon helped him to rediscover poetry inside himself, and in doing so – as he says in the title – to find another version of himself.
This week, I met another Jasem
I have returned back to myself
Like the return of an eagle to its heights
From the dark, cold corners of a barren field
I called you, like calling of a desert for its first rain
I had you in the dreamy lyrics of childhood
But I lost you somewhere in the storm
I searched for you behind curtains
You called out on the border of my sleep and awake
I met some angels
They were coming from the crossroads of dreams and rain
They showed the paths leading to you
I heard your song; I freed you deep inside me
A seed planted, a tree is growing its branches deep around me
I feel the drops of sun on the buds of my sleepy eyelids
I feel the clouds on my fingertips
I want to pour some rain on this dry season
I want to fly back the leaves off the ground to their branches
Pouring the light into their veins
I write poems about the whispers of bees and waiting of rosebuds
Poems from now and all years to come
I live with you
You are my sun
You are my home
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