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Poetry Workshop @ 245 Hammersmith

The Poetry Workshops was a way of bringing the community together to explore words on a page!

The Poetry Workshops was a way of bringing the community together to explore words on a page! The themes culminated on topics such that allowed others to communicate their feelings on the recent lockdown and how this affected them. We looked at our mental health and used the time to create a safe space to connect and share feelings on a page. We explored how it felt, prompted by key words to get us to reflect and write our feelings down. A cathartic experience was noted by some of the contributing attendees and this helped to move the workshop along at an organic pace. The mood resonated with everyone and all participants felt at ease, as if a load had been lifted.

They say when you write things down it can have positive effects on our mental health. Individuals were asked to share their poems, on how they felt about the lockdown and all the positive and negative thoughts, had affected them. This was more than a workshop, in the sense that it almost became a space to be emotionally safe and explore (but by writing it down) One or two people stated, that it had been a while, since they reconnected with themselves and that it had a very long time, since they had sat down and put pen to paper. The Success of the workshop was marked by the participants eager to attend the next planned workshop.

Our next workshop theme focused on love, as it was Valentine Month. I was excited to work with the participants on this one. As we used music, with the help of dishing out chocolates and lit candles, to create the mood for a great writing experience. This was a fun, as we looked at the history of ‘love labels’ originally written in Latin, through a fun quiz and asked the participants to guess what they meant. I took the attendees through a personal journey, asking them to look introspectively at their own lives, where love resided. We talked and wrote about love in relationships- how words can impact how we feel. I was again, beginning to think this was more than a workshop, when personal stories emerged and the effects of the workshop, brought up past experiences, and one person got very emotional, but it was a safe space, so they were able to share in the group.

The plan of this workshop was to think and write about what love means to the individual and how this experience, could walk hand in hand with self. So as part of the plan, participants were asked to write a love letter to themselves, which everyone was excited about. They would be posted to themselves, as a reminder to remember that love begins with you and before we can search for love, we need to be able to be love. The success of this workshop, showed itself, when our finishing time, over extended into a few extra hours of just talking.

Our final workshop was done online, which expanded further the feelings of the continued lockdown, as I moved to support the mood of the last few months. It was a different experience, and not an experience that could match the face to face. However, we were able to make fun, in the light of the situation and explored similar themes, but dug a little deeper. The participants now fully comfortable with each other shared more and wrote more. The shift in reactions was evident and was part 1 of 2 workshops that resonated in exploring feelings. Unfortunately, we were not able to continue online, due to unforeseen circumstances and hope to at some point, in the future, resume the workshops again.

Petula Hippolyte

Poetry Facilitator

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