Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I love these Guardian Workshops!

Here is this month's workshop. Why not give it a go? And if you don't want to send your poems to Chris, you can always just post them here.

Chris Greenhalgh's workshop
Monday February 14, 2005

In honour of today's date, Chris has based his exercise around the theme of love. All together: aaaah ...

Take a look at Chris's exercise, which he has called 'Journey poem, with the theme of love'

Think of a journey to a loved one. The journey can be imaginary, or based on a real journey you have undertaken.

Organise the poem in the following three stages:

· Describe the act and feeling of travelling in a train, car or airplane. Use the senses to achieve this - colour, smells, sounds, textures - make it crisp but vivid.

· Establish a sense of the surrounding landscape. Perhaps aim for some kind of sympathy or correspondence between what is inside and outside the car/ train/plane; or a contrast between the exterior/interior.

· Develop a sense of what makes the journey special. Perhaps introduce a metaphor here, an equivalent for the feeling you want to achieve. Aim at some kind of transcendent or sublime moment, an insight which lifts this particular journey out of the ordinary, and makes it memorable.

See Seamus Heaney's 'Night Drive' for a fine example of this type of poem.

Points to consider

· By organising it this way, you introduce a kind of trajectory into the poem. There is a movement from things to a final idea, from concrete to abstract, from the physical to the metaphysical. This can be very effective, drawing the reader in.

· Choose your title carefully. Make it slant, oblique to the poem - nothing that immediately gives the game away.

· Think carefully about how best to lineate the poem (where to break the lines).

Email your submissions to books.editor@guardianunlimited.co.uk by midnight on Sunday February 20. Check here to see the shortlisted poems and Chris's response in the following week.

Here is the Guardian Poetry Workshop link

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