Poetry Workshops with Claire Dyer
We were lucky to have a local published poet to come along to Kendrick School to run two workshops with our students at Kendrick School. Some of these students were part of the Poets' Society and some of these students were keen writers in the younger year groups. Two students who were in the younger year groups, Shathana and Kaavya, shared their reflections on the events below. It is very pleasing to see how these events make a difference to young people's perspectives on poetry, and help improve their writing, editing, and analysing skills. We thank Claire Dyer for her visit.
This opportunity to connect with Claire Dyer, a local poet, was truly eye-opening, and it was incredibly valuable to immerse myself in her perspective of poetry that aligned with, and even juxtaposed, my own prior thoughts. It was fascinating to see her diverse, structural, and linguistic techniques, which enhanced her writing, and I was able to imitate some in my own poem. For example, I wrote a spectral poem which was a structural technique I was introduced to by her.
One of my personal highlights was being able to analyse her poetry and be able to pick up on certain details and literary devices that I would not think of using immediately, which broadened my skill set.
The language not always being verbose, but still being able to harness such depth and fluidity, was helpful to understand - especially since I tend to use quite a vast range of vocabulary; This simplistic but quite professional take on poetry was fascinating, and it helped me to learn that straying away from traditional structures was not out of the question. In fact, I felt that it adhered to the originality and complexity of the poems and made them stand out.
Another part that I particularly enjoyed was analysing poems and having my own one being analysed by Claire Dyer and my peers. I thought it would be nerve wracking to expose my work to a poet, but I was keen to receive her feedback, and the responses from the people around me. Seeing how intricately woven each poem was and how each poem was holding it's own deeper meaning, and the varying devices and particularly the structures used, stood out to me. Another extremely intriguing part of this experience was hearing the personal context of each poem from my peers. It was quite peculiar when, within my own poem, I heard an abundance of interpretations, some of which I myself was unaware of. This made me realise how incredible poetry can be, especially when there is a fresh pair of eyes looking at it for the first time.
The first event was mainly getting to know Claire Dyer herself, and it was very interesting to hear about her works and achievements. We looked at some of her published poetry from her various anthologies, and they were unique and unlike most poetry I have been familiar with. We became accustomed to her style, and looked through some brilliant pieces. After we had thoroughly analysed and evaluated her brilliant work, we ourselves were given the task of writing poetry on fairy tales, but the twist was you needed to write them in reverse. This started promptly, and we were given just under half an hour to start formulating the rough skeletons of our poems. We could choose for these to be shared and analysed in the next gathering if we wished.
The latter event was structured similarly to the first, although less time was spent on the poetry by Claire Dyer herself and more on the poems of our cohort. This was also when we exchanged our own poems and analysed them respectively. This was anonymous, and it was particularly intriguing to receive feedback this way; especially from Claire Dyer herself. The vast majority of the feedback directed towards my poem was overwhelmingly positive, which was thrilling to hear, but I also received a lot of food for thought in the sense that I could write my poem from varying narratives or change the rhyme scheme to see how that would affect it and whether that would help or hinder the overall message. It was extremely helpful and indeed valuable to be able to access the poems of other students and see their masterful use of techniques to form such sophisticated writing.
Overall, I think that this was an enthralling experience full of genuine excellence from a poet who was so in depth when explaining her style and preferred rhyme; and the exemplary display of her technique and structure that ostensibly depicted her passion for poetry in all its forms was a delight to see. I think that the activities were well-chosen and allowed us to further obtain knowledge and comprehension of all of these new characteristics of how to form and structure poetry and analyse it to allow us to better understand our own perspective and that of others, even if it is through fairy tales.
Thank you to Mr Dilley and Miss Akcay for inviting Claire Dyer, and organising the event.