ArtfulScribe Free Poetry Workshop weekend

A free poetry workshop weekend is taking place on 14-15 November as part of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage.

ArtfulScribe, in partnership with Winchester Poetry Festival, offers a weekend of poetry workshops led by poets who have made their homes in England from countries including Hungary, Nigeria, The Philippines, and Poland.

George Szirtes, Theresa Lola, Romalyn Ante and Bohdan Piasecki will explore themes such as journeys, new beginnings, identity and belonging, in a series of 90-minute Zoom sessions.

A crowd-sourced poetry reading on the theme of 'Giving Thanks' will also feature over the weekend.

All events are free to attend and priority access will be given to people from Southampton and SO postcodes.

Identity – Bohdan Piasecki

Saturday 14 November - 10-11.30am (for children and young people)


In this workshop, aimed at 11- to 18-year-olds, we'll forget the accurate and look for the true instead, all by making use of poetry's unlimited special effects budget.

We'll look at influences from movie trailers to sports commentary, from super-villain monologues to nature documentaries to try and find a new way to write the best versions of ourselves.

Really, this is a workshop to help us find and share joy in who we are.

Participants will try several writing approaches and explore performance techniques, before finishing with a full piece shared with the rest of the group.

Find booking information here.

Journeys – Theresa Lola

Saturday 14 November - 1-2pm (for over-16s)

In this open access workshop, open to anyone over 16, we will be exploring the journeys we go through in life, physical and emotional, that lead us to discovery and shift something in us, affect us.

We’ll be looking at how to write poems that navigate with mystery, while revealing the lessons from the journeys we take.

Find booking information here.

False Starts and Turning Points – Bohdan Piasecki

Saturday 14 November 3.30-5pm (for over-16s)

This workshop, aimed at anyone over 16, will focus on turning points, restarts, mulligans, and do-overs.

We’ll go looking together for stories which take a turn, start anew, or suddenly take on new meanings when set in a different context.

We will look for inspiration in existing texts and stories we share from our own lives – and zero in on ways to introduce the all important return to square one into poetry as we draft our own stories of new beginnings.

The workshop will present several examples of 'new beginnings' in poetry (both in text and in performance), and create space for personal storytelling.

We can glean inspiration and steal any techniques which might be useful as we move on to drafting new poems about beginning again.

Find booking information here.

Giving Thanks: A Poetry Exchange – Matthew McNaught

Saturday 14 November - 7-9.30pm

You are invited to a poetry exchange on a theme: Giving Thanks. Bring a poem that you like, by any living or dead poet, which is related (however tangentially) to the theme.

The event will be held over Zoom, and the only restriction is that the poem must be written by someone other than yourself.

Each person will read (or recite by heart) their chosen poem, and will have the opportunity to share some thoughts about it — what you found interesting or pleasing, its personal significance.

Please RSVP to and let us know your choice of poem. To take part as an audience member, please click here.

Belonging – George Szirtes

Sunday 15 November - 10-11.30am (for over-16s)

What does it mean to belong? To what? To whom? Is it of comfort to belong to a nation, a community, an organisation, a group with this or that cause, a family, a relationship, or anything else?

When do we first feel the sense of belonging? What obligations does belonging impose on us and what do we welcome?

Be prepared to bring along your memories, visual sources of either a personal or social kind, and a news item, a quotation or a poem that seems interesting or offers a starting point.

This is a place of exploration and shaping. Let’s see what there is to explore, and what shapes it offers us.

Find booking information here.

New Beginnings: A Fresh Start – Romalyn Ante

Sunday 15 November - 2-3.30pm (for over-16s)

The psychology of new beginnings has been an important aspect of change and personal enhancement.

New beginnings and new places usually mean a chance for you to be better, a metamorphosis to happen.

In this 90-minute workshop, we will look at how the magic of travelling and new beginnings permeate through poetry and influence the speaker’s narrative.

We will look at urban and rural landscapes’ language and imagery to strengthen the sense of place in our poetry.

We will read the works of Marjorie Evasco, Sonia Sanchez, Suji Kwock Kim, Sarah Howe, and others, to learn how language and metaphors can help us re-imagine our life journeys and explore their meaning.

Find booking information here.

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