Thank you Debbi Voisey for setting up our Zoom meetings every two weeks. We use them to deliver workshops on poetry and fiction, and to read and critique each other’s work. The meetings have been very productive, not a minute wasted, but we do have a chat and a laugh too. This week I ran a poetry workshop where we discussed ‘Snow Joke’ by Simon Armitage.
After our discussion I asked everyone to write for twenty minutes to try and emulate the ‘storytelling’ aspect of Armitage’s poem, the changes in tone, and how despite the free verse and jokey introduction this really is a poem as opposed to prose fiction. (Although not all of the group agreed!)
Armitage once said
‘Poems that wave flags, campaign and crusade often fall flat on their arse. But I do think of my poetry as political' – can we see this in Snow Joke?
After writing and a read-around of our fledgling work, we then read and critiqued poetry by David Bayliss, one of the group. It was great to see our founder Paul Williamson join in the Zoom call; of course Zoom is not for everyone, for various reasons, but it has been great for us.
Pattie, a long-standing member of the City Voices community was also with us but had to dash off right at the end so sadly she has not made the photograph.
Until City Central Library in Hanley opens again, we will be on Zoom at 11am – 1pm every other Saturday. Our next meeting (fiction workshop) will be 4th July 2012.
Lockdown and the temporary closure of City Central Library in Hanley due to Covid-19 has been a pain, but an absolutely necessary one. City Voices send love to anyone suffering a loss or extreme stress in lockdown. Paul Williamson (pictured) has been self-isolating but is in amazingly good spirits and has the outlook and beliefs usually associated with some-one much, much younger. He also has the wisdom and compassionate understanding that comes with someone who has seen all the good and bad things this world has to offer. It was a joy to talk to him yesterday. Paul founded City Voices in 2006 and says ‘Good writing can bring people closer together through love, beauty and understanding’ And 'There really is something so wonderfully special about good novels. You can learn so much about people and the world, and this helps to keep you close to what it is to be human and drives you onwards to better things. So, what advice would you give someone starting out in creative writing? Join a Library. Read lots of Good Books - Novels, Poetry, Biography, Plays. Join a Writers Group. Try to find your own True voice. Cultivate your Muse!
Here are some novels that Paul recommends for lock-down reading.
‘War and Peace’ and ‘Anna Karenina’- Leo Tolstoy ‘Crime and Punishment’ Fyodor Dostoevsky. ‘Wuthering Heights’ Emily Brontë. ‘North and South’ Elizabeth Gaskell. ‘The Mill on the Floss’ George Eliot.’ ’Moby Dick’ Herman Melville. ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles.’Thomas Hardy. ‘The Rainbow’ D.H. Lawrence. ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’John Steinbeck. ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’. Harper Lee. ‘The God of small things’ Arundhati Roy’. ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. ‘Things Fall Apart’. Chinua Achebe. ‘Brick Lane’ Monica Ali. ‘Beloved’ Toni Morrison. ‘Red Dust Road’ Jackie Kay.
City Voices Meetings are back via Zoom! On 9th May 2020 we had our very first Zoom meeting, following temporary closure of City Central Library in Hanley due to Covid-19. It was so successful (and fun!) it has been decided to continue with the meetings every two weeks. City Voices meetings are open to all (and potential) writers, but to avoid trolling and spamming you need a the link (no password required) to get into the meeting. Zoom is really easy, you don't need to download the app. Genuine writers can email me or send me a message on City Voices Creative Writers Facebook Page to get the link for each meeting. You need to send your email address. Those already on our mailing list will recieve regular updates.
NEXT ZOOM MEETING SATURDAY 20th JUNE 11AM - 1PM