We have asked local artists and makers for their inspiration and how they would help someone get started in their field. Leanne has produced this short exercise in getting started in Poetry.
We have a number of poets who have contributed to the Trail, including Leanne herself, and the leader of the local Poetry Society Stanza group. For more info, please go to the Poetry Society‘s website and find out more details on their work, and the Stanza closest to you. They also have a comprehensive collection of resources for learning at home.
Here’s some words from Leanne:
Wisbech Arts Trail Workshop
Former Fenland Poet Laureate Leanne Moden shows us a few ideas for writing poetry about your home town…
A fun way to write about the place you live is to think about what it would be like if it were a person. In poetry, giving human characteristics to places or things is called personification. You can use personification to explain or describe the character of something, by imagining that it was human.
In this writing prompt, I want you to think about Wisbech, and consider how you would describe the town if it were a person. How old would they be? What gender would they be? What job would they do? What would they look like, sound like, and what would their relationship be with you? Think about personality, how they dress, how they talk, how they walk. Remember to be really specific. Take fifteen minutes to write down all your ideas, then refine your writing into a poem.
If you need a line to start you off, try one of these:
- If Wisbech was a person, he would wear…
- Wisbech is a woman with eyes the colour of…
- Wisbech laces up its shoes, ready for…
A Love Letter to Wisbech:
Another great way to write about a place is by writing it a love letter. Wisbech is a beautiful town, but it has its positives and negatives. In any relationship, we learn to forgive the flaws, and celebrate the strengths.
With that in mind, I’d like you to write a love letter to your town.
First, write a list of ten things that you love about the place. These can be small things – feeling like a spy when you cut through Ghost’s passage, or catching up with friends while you queue for chips in Frank’s – or bigger things, like the feeling of community you get when standing in the marketplace on a Saturday afternoon. Make sure you write about really specific things: memories, or parts of the town, or people you love who live there.
Once you have a list of ten things, think about the order you’d like to place them in – are there any that don’t fit? Any images that you’d like to expand on? Remember, your love letter doesn’t have to be completely positive, as long as it expresses your affection for the place in some way, then it still counts!
Start your love letter “Dear Wisbech…” and don’t forget to tell the town just how you feel. Take fifteen minutes to write down all your ideas, then refine your writing into a poem.
Leanne Moden is a poet and workshop leader originally from Wisbech, but now living in Nottingham. Leanne has performed at events across the UK and Europe, including recent sets at WOMAD, Sofar Sounds, and Bestival on the Isle of Wight, as well as shows in Estonia and Spain. She performed at the TEDx WOMEN at UCL in 2016, and was a semi-finalist at the BBC Edinburgh Fringe Slam in 2019. Leanne was Fenland Poet Laureate in 2013, and her most recent show, Skip, Skip, Skip, was set in Wisbech.