dedicated blogsite to Dave Wood's participatory poetry project in Northern Ireland. Started late August and finishing September 2004, it does a compare and contrast with previous visits 1988 - 1998. Also see

22 Dec 2004

The Night Before

Monday evening and I'm hoping to get a swift pint tonight before I skidaddle tomorrow. Had a response to the press release from the Northern Ireland Library service who want me to write a 400 word article for their newsletter. So much quicker than the press in England! I'm hoping they pick up on the offer for me to have a table in the central building so I can chat to people. I did this as poet in residence for Creswell. I'd sit there Thursday mornings at the door and invite people to talk with me, offer there thoughtsm reminiscences, visions of the town and as much as possible ask them to create or bring poems of their own. The process worked a treat. In the afternoon I'd facilitate a school group in a more structured workshop. It was different in the working men's club though. I'd quite happily sit with a half pint (pushing it for me but when in Creswell etc) and probe for gossip, dirt and the social history of the area (a cross between E.P.Thomson and a certain tabloid). The second week I met a bloke who brought in some incredibly sensitive poems about life, relationships and his dad. We'd agreed to meet up after I'd set him (and myself) some homework. We never met up again, but I've since found out he's on the main steering committee for this year's events. The scheme really highlighted how poetry can be an incredibly livening, rejuvenating and healing process. Everyone wanted to add their two penn'orth.

Realise this is going a bit off the beaten track as far as slugger goes but I do want impress on people the importance of this simple, concise and poignant language form. For those still in doubt, read the Uses of Poetry - Denys Thomson and (of course) the legend of the great Finn(Mary Heaney's Over Nine Waves is a good starting point)as he learns the high disciplines of the poet. Argue with him, you'd be in for a roasting! Meanwhile, I'll be glad when I'm in Ireland just to let the stress of waiting go.

all the best