Writers Forum Workshop

Writers Forum Workshop (North) is a space for poets practicing experimental techniques to meet, road-test works-in-progress, give and receive feedback, and just otherwise generally swap ideas.

The workshop’s monthly meetings alternate between Manchester and Leeds. The organisers are Leeds-based poet Stephen Emmerson and Richard Barrett.

On Saturday April 9 the first meeting occurred at MadLab.

That day the work which was heard included a re-working of Rilke’s Duino Elegies using the methods of Jackson Mac Low; a long piece consisting of a celebrity’s Twitter-stream cut-up and re-arranged; a series of short poems where the everyday had been rendered strange and other-worldly; the concluding sonnets from a sequence concerned with questions of sustainability and the personal; and extracts from a set incorporating found-text looking at memory, the representation of personal experience and the effects of juxtapositioning.

Some common aims which emerged from the readings over the course of the afternoon included the wish to capture experience as authentically as possible and the importance of acknowledging and being aware of poetic forbears yet not being held to ransom by them.

Those present read from their work, sometimes with an introduction, sometimes without. Then afterwards they spoke about their intentions and answered questions put to them by the other attendees.

Both Stephen and myself were very pleased with how that first workshop went. All the work was fantastic as was the surrounding discussion. The feedback we received from the people who attended suggested that everyone present also thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon as well. So, hopefully, WFW(N) will continue for sometime! And, indeed, our second meeting is already scheduled for Saturday May 7, 14:00-17:00, at the Victoria Family & Commercial Hotel, 28 Great George Street, Leeds.

Then we’ll be back in Manchester at MadLab in June.

Future plans for the workshop include, but are not limited to, pamphlet publication of the work of members; discussion of current reading and influences and, also, writing exercises. We’ll probably do a lot of other stuff as well which we just haven’t thought of yet – why not come along and share your ideas!

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With many thanks to Richard Barrett for writing this blog.

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