As a result of the COVID19 situation and the lockdown, the Island Arts Centre ended its face to face classes in March 2020. Up to that point, Shelley Tracey had been tutoring a creative writing class at the Centre for the last few years.
To address the disruptions to classes, performances and exhibitions, the Island Arts Centre devised a programme for offering arts experiences to members of the public. As one of their tutors, Shelley was asked to create a series of six weekly poetry videos, in which she presented an accessible poem and gave viewers ideas about how to use the poem as a prompt for their own writing.
She hoped that the poems would give people an opportunity for self-expression at a time when many of us find ourselves at a loss for words. So Shelley chose poems which she thought could appeal to a wide audience, with accessible and effective language. If the videos were to be helpful, the poems had to be as positive, uplifting and inspiring as possible.
The videos begin with a reading of the poems, and then I read them again, leaving a space for the viewers to read the poem out loud. As I explain in the videos, the purpose of this activity is to explore the ideas and emotions in the poem, and to experience its language and rhythms.
The next part of the video looks at the poem in detail, giving ideas for writing a response.
The poem is printed in the post which accompanies the videos, with information about the poems and ideas for writing one’s own poem.
Please find below links to videos of the classes
Week 1 A Hundred Objects Close by Mira Mirabai
Week 2 The Magic Box Kit Wright
Week 3 Beannacht/ Blessing John O’Donohue
Week 4 Horses Pablo Neruda
Week 5 Morning poem Mary Oliver
Week 6 What if this Road by Sheenagh Pugh