Monthly Archives: March 2018

The power of reading aloud together

The power of reading aloud together
The power of reading aloud together

Last Sunday, I got invited to something wonderful. I’d heard about the village here in Kent that had got together at Christmas and read Paradise Lost out loud to each other, and a friend and I were inspired – we would do the same! But somehow things got in the way and, er, we haven’t actually got round to it yet.

But luckily for Rolvenden, the same people who organised the Paradise Lost event organised another reading and luckily for me, I got an invitation. Because it seems you get the well-intentioned (me) and the actual do-ers (them). In this case it’s Rob Pursey, Amelia Fletcher and Colin Teevan – thank you thank you thank you! (I love the story about how when Rob and Colin first thought of the idea, they suspected it might be the two of them reading Milton to each other in a shed.)

Far from it. For this second event, they had invited Michael Longley and his wife, Edna, to visit them and to read his poems aloud with him, and about thirty of us crammed into Rob and Amelia’s wonderful sitting room and let the words wash over us. As Michael himself sat and listened! What a privilege. There was real magic in the communal experience, and a reminder that poetry should be read out loud – especially with all the different voices, accents and even the mangling of Irish place names, as we took one poem each to read in turn…

And I think Michael enjoyed it too…. here’s a gorgeous photo of him at the end of a full reading of his collection, The Stairwell that sums up the day….  (the photograph is by John Stanley, and Rob kindly said I could share it.)

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Poems on the railings….

Poems on the railings….
Poems on the railings….

Today is a day to celebrate women, our voices, thoughts and our poetry, so I’m so proud to have a banner of poems by my clever women poetry friends (and me) fluttering from my railings today. women's day 1Even more, given the reputation my town of Tunbridge Wells has, to have received my first ‘Bloody women’ comment. YAY.

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Here are some of the poems… have a good International Women’s Day!!

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Good news, bad news – Writing for Wellbeing Workshop

Good news, bad news – Writing for Wellbeing Workshop
Good news, bad news – Writing for Wellbeing Workshop

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Bad news… due to the snow, my sold-out Introduction to Writing for Wellbeing workshop this Saturday (3rd March) has been cancelled.

Good news… it is being held instead on Saturday 7th April.

Bad news… not all those booked on can make the new date.

Good news… this means there are some spaces now available. All the details and booking contacts will be on the University of Kent website on Monday – click here or email to reserve a place.

Here’s what students have said about previous Writing for Wellbeing courses:

‘Sarah is thoughtful and funny and kind. She allows everyone time and space to think and to be heard.’

‘I’ve loved this course! It’s been surprising, inspiring, emotional but above all enjoyable.’

‘The course was inspirational, joyful and practical. I feel physically and mentally better for having done it.’

‘Sarah is fantastic, she is able to bring out the best in the student and at the same time make them feel relaxed and at ease.’

‘Sarah creates exactly the right supportive environment in which people can express themselves and surprise themselves.’

‘When’s the next course?’

Not surprisingly I get a rosy glow when I read comments like those above but actually all the good work happen through the magic created between the writer and their journal. I’m passionate about the benefits of journal writing, and more and more the research backs up my instincts, but it’s much easier than anyone thinks at first.

However, this isn’t about just getting a journal and writing down random thoughts. It’s about learning new journal techniques and structuring them in such a way that you do surprise yourself. It’s about working out the best tools for reflection, seeing things from new perspectives, and trying new ways of expression. It’s about creating a sustainable journal writing practice. And, as you can hopefully see from above, it’s enjoyable!

If you can’t make the new workshop date, 7th April,  the on-going Monday Writing for Wellbeing short course is full BUT we will be running more at Tonbridge so do email the centre to be put on the mailing list.

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And I’ll be running some more writing and yoga workshops this summer with Anna Robertshaw so you can get a double dose of goodness! More on these soon or you can follow us at Mat and Page on Facebook to be the first to hear. Meanwhile, here’s a teaser of our beautiful venue….