Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Poetry Results - 15th August, 2016

On 15th August, poet, Roz Goddard, came to give feedback and announce the winners of our poetry competition. She said the first element in poetry should be the heart rather than the head and gave her comprehensive judging criteria, including the creation of lines and phrases that ‘caught' her, the poem’s effectiveness when read aloud, its look on the page and the skills of ‘poetic handicraft’ that it demonstrated. In first place was 'The Father's Tale' by Vicky Armstrong, praised for its excellent use of the Icarus myth, its skilful layout and its 'heartbreaking' effect. 'The Bryn' by Diana Lock was second, Jane Hempson-Jones' 'Peace' was third, and 'Haiku on Kuniyoshi' by Roz Balp was fourth. Roz Goddard commented on the effective use of imagery and the adoption of rhyme schemes which might either enhance or ‘hem the poem in'. In the question and answer session, she advised: ‘letting the words flow’, writing a first draft in prose and allowing the structure to emerge as well as reading lots of contemporary poetry through magazines like Rialto or Under the Radar. She encouraged the non-winners by saying that all judgements are ‘subjective and tell us much about the judge and her reading and experience.’

Friday, 5 August 2016

History Workshop - 1st August, 2016

On 1st August, we were privileged to welcome our speaker, Ann Kramer, who gave an invaluable and inspiring workshop on writing historical non-fiction to prepare us for the group's final competition of the year. She has a long career as a professional author and has written 60 books on history for both adults and children, as well as many articles. Ann managed to condense her considerable experience into some very clear advice on how to go about approaching the task.. She responded with ease to questions from the floor, outlining a clear procedure for planning, finding an original angle as well as giving a very thorough guide on how to tackle the thorny problem of research, giving useful tips on how to find and use a variety of sources. Finally, she gave us two practical activities to get us started, which propelled us from vague ideas to a definite starting point. Throughout the evening, Ann was positive and encouraging, so we all feel more confident about taking the first step on this unfamiliar path.