Hello and welcome poets, everywhere. My name is Tony Maude, and once again it is my pleasure to welcome you to the dVerse Poets Pub for Open Link Night.
Two weeks ago I was privileged to attend an Arvon Foundation course at The Ted Hughes Centre,Lumb Bank in Yorkshire, England. I was there with 13 other aspiring poets from England and one from the Netherlands to spend a few days simply concentrating on writing poetry.
We benefitted from workshops which were led each morning by either Clare Pollard or Neil Robinson – and each afternoon we were able to share 20 minutes one-to-one with one or other of these established writers to show them our work and receive advice from them. Thankfully, although this was initially a daunting prospect, both Clare and Neil were really helpful and insightful about ways that we could improve our writing. For example, I showed Clare an 18-line poem that I had written in the early part of last year. She read it, considered it for about 10 seconds, then drew a line through the first stanza; four lines of my poem extracted just like that. Then she said, “Now you have a really interesting sonnet. That first stanza was just you warming up; you needed to write it, but your readers don’t need to have to read it.”
This has me wondering, what opportunities are there for you, wherever you are, to benefit from the advice of established writers? Does your country have an organisation similar to the Arvon Foundation here in the UK, which exists to promote and encourage writing for people of all abilities, all levels of experience, from all age-groups and backgrounds?
The other part of the course that was hugely helpful was discussing my work with other poets, each of whom is at a similar stage in their writing journey; each of whom gave me important insights and encouragement about my own work. In some ways, that’s part of what is on offer here at the Pub – and Open Link Night is when we give you the opportunity to show your work to your peers and receive their feedback on it. Of course, that works best if you visit them and comment on their work too … smiles.
Here’s how it works: