David Chapple’s Writing for Social Change workshop, hosted by the Gender, Sex and Sexualities Conference in August 2018 used poetry and poetic techniques to support participants in developing the individual voice they can use to speak out about their environment. The resulting poem ‘Home’ was written collaboratively by workshop participants.
poetry; writing for social change; group writing; collaborative writing; space
David Chapple’s Writing for Social Change workshop was hosted by the 2018 Gender, Sex and Sexualities Conference, ‘Space and Place: conceptions of movement, boundaries and belongings’. Social change relies on a key word: social. This was the starting point for the workshop, which used bonding exercises and playful technique to work with those low in confidence and motivation, and worked to instil a love of poetry and some understanding of technique. Participants were encouraged to feel safe in this space, allowing play and a stepping outside of comfort zones in order to create, both individually and together. Throughout the workshop, the participants were asked questions to provoke personal answers—questions about love, hope, childhood and home—to encourage reflection on these spaces and places and their boundaries and belongings. The group appreciated others responses and felt safe providing their own, forging a social space. This reflection elicited sophisticated, meaningful speech. The resulting conversations were used to capture and create instant poetry. The variety of answers and emotions from the variety of participants gave the poem ‘Home’ tone, texture and depth that is unique to its context.
I’m a child
Kind of down in the house
Just another instance
Where I’m held at distance
Away from prayer calls
Five times a day
Away from impatient touts
In this warm land far away
Mother’s piano trickles down to this lonely room
Moth balls, pig’s feet, cabbage odours loom
It’s now, it’s then, nostalgia adult and child
It’s in the spinning wheels outside the house
Furious red car, gravel spat
Acrid silent atmosphere, memories like that
And the smell of misery, that’s still a part of me
When the hound haunch hits the couch
We cuddle for comfort my siblings shout
Fragrance of the lily, rice cooked in fire
The end, the start, the heart of the day
Memories, we are all made this way
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