“When you write poetry, imagine looking through a small window. Focus on just one aspect of the scene,” advised Alison Riley on a recent ‘Poetry Stroll and Write’ which I stumbled upon whilst on holiday in Castleton, in the Peak District.
As I’ve said before, I am not a poet but anything remotely writing orientated always grabs my attention, so whilst my husband took himself off for a walk, I joined the poetry session.
Alison was full of good advice.
Whenever I attempt a poem I immediately start worrying about its form – rhyming? free verse? sonnet? etc. Alison suggested that I forget all of this and instead let myself go with some free writing about what was around us.
“Don’t worry about form or rhyme,” she said. “That can all come later.”
I managed some disjointed phrases about the mountain rescue van parked nearby. It definitely wasn’t poetry but Alison reckoned that with a bit of polishing it could become a reasonable poem.
Alison then showed us the poem ‘Resolution‘ by Jo Bell. It’s about Castleton at New Year and, sitting there in the quaint old village where it was written, it was extremely evocative. I began to feel that maybe I too could write a poem and, back in our rented cottage, I did. It’s about the ‘coffin route’ from Edale to Castleton (before there was a church in Edale, the corpses had to be carried over the hill into the next town for burial) – at the moment it’s just a rough version in my notebook but maybe one day I’ll dare to bring out into the light of day…
Thanks for the inspiration, Alison!
Alison Riley organises the Derbyshire Stanza of the Poetry Society.