Monday, 13 December 2010

Tailormade Poems

A week ago myself and three poet friends sat behind a paper-decked table at Storey Gallery's Vintage Winter Fair and gave rise to Tailor-Made Poems: Whatever the occasion; whoever the recipient; we can write the poem...

We had a steady stream of customers throughout the day, wanting poems for their daughters, sisters-in-law, partners and wedding anniversaries. The deal? We asked them a ton of questions, elicited a bunch of information, went off to write it up into a poem, they got the chance to change a line or up to five words if they wanted before the poem was printed off onto a card with matching envelope ready for them to give to whoever. All for the bargain price of a pound a line. That day all our profits when to Amnesty - over fifty squid, so that was good feeling enough.

But I discovered two other great spin-offs from the experience:

1. The joy in 'letting go' a poem. We gave ourselves two hours to write the poem, so we couldn't get overly complicated, we had to keep to the brief, keep it tight and hold the essence of the giver's emotion in our care. All the poems we wrote we shared with another one of us for that objective overview before giving it back to the giver. All the poems did their jobs admirably.

2. The joy in giving poetry. When people returned for the poem, they were visibly moved and delighted by what they read - their words spun into a form; their emotion made manifest. It felt all the positive atributes of poetry were tangible in those few minutes. The weight of its value and power to connect.

We're planning more in the new year...

1 comment:

Jean Atkin said...

What a fantastic idea. Think we should trial this north of the border too...