Week 27 – Poetry in motion

Hi! It’s Week 27 of our Giving Tuesday campaign and to date, we’ve covered a lot of ground. So, what have we in store for you today?

Did you know that it was National Poetry Day on 1st October?

National Poetry Day happens on the first Thursday of October every year and is aimed at celebrating poetry and language across the country. The National Poetry Day website is full of resources about poetry; including events, a blog and even competitions!

And because we love nothing better than a bit of poetry here at Home-Start, this week’s Giving Tuesday is all about the art of – not of expressing something that is beautiful, but of expressing something beautifully.

Defining Poetry

If you look up “poetry” in a dictionary, you’ll get a very useful but not terribly helpful explanation: Poetry: literature that evokes a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience or an emotional response through language chosen and arranged for its meaning, sound, and rhythm.

We much prefer the excellent Mark Forsyth’s definition: “In poetry the words themselves have to contain and suggest the cadences and the rhythms that should form themselves in the reader’s mind. That’s what poetry is. Words with music built in. Poetry should be like powdered soup and the reader like hot water.”

Mark writes the InkyFool blog, a must-read for anyone who is fascinated by words and language.

Appreciating the Language

Mark has a particular way of appreciating poetry. In ‘Elements of Eloquence’, he argues that it should be the choice of words used by poets, not their intentions and thought processes, that we must analyse in order to understand what the poem is about.

Once you start thinking of poetry in this way, suddenly a whole new world opens up – the appreciation of language.

The Language of Poetry

In his brilliant book ‘The Ode Less Travelled’, Stephen Fry (yep, the actor/writer/comedian) gives step-by-step instructions on how to create poetry.

The book contains exercises and techniques for learning how poetry works, with the eventual aim of creating your own poem.

It is written with Stephen’s inimitable sense of humour but is still informative and fascinating. If you have never tried writing a poem we urge you to give this book a go!

If you’d like to hear more about Stephen Fry and poetry, the Poetry Archive is a brilliant resource of poems, many of them available as audio tracks, and includes Stephen’s guided tour of his favourite poems.

Aren’t poems a bit…boring?

Well, it’s true, some poems can be a bit difficult to get into (we’ve never managed to finish Hiawatha by Longfellow, for example) but poetry does offer a wonderful way of expressing the inexpressible.

Here at Home-Start, we are incredibly lucky to have our very own poet, Jude Simpson. Jude has been a long-time supporter of Home-Start, acting as host for our Literary Lunch events (and our new Creative Conversations) among many other things.

Here she is, in a brief introduction about her work:

Earlier this year, Jude’s poem Thank Me By Thinking Twice went viral after staff at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge turned it into a video:

She also wrote a series of poems inspired by volunteers and neatly expressing heartfelt thanks to each and every one. We shared one of them with our very own Home-Start volunteers, to show our appreciation for everything they do. We also published it on our blog, as it really is something special, and you can read it here.

Are you a poet? (and, do you know it?)

See what we did there?

This week, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of your own. To start you off here is one penned by our very own fundraising manager, Cathy:

Love Is…

So get your creative flow on and jot down a few words or lines that resonates with you. But remember, poetry is a personal experience, there is no right or wrong way to create your poem – and it doesn’t even have to rhyme!

Click here to send your poems to us and, if you are happy for us to, we will feature them on our social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

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