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Our January session was on Bilston Dozen, led by Keith and Karen.

Bilston Dozen, our poem-a-month project, has been running since January 2016. Keith s...

Bilston Dozen

February 12, 2019

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Imagery and metaphor with Roz Goddard

May 29, 2018

Roz put us straight on to the path of imagery and metaphor by inviting us to choose two illustrated postcards from a wide collection.  We used these to introduce ourselves.


Some examples from group members:

  • A Miro painting combined with a wishbone – playful dream-like always wishing for more.

  • Another Miro painting illustrated ‘scribbled dreams’ (an image we all loved)

  • A man in a box with a map – where are we going?

Imagery is a poet’s currency resonating at a deep level.  Often working through our senses - touch, smell, sight, taste, sound, playing with our dreams and memories.


Glyn Maxwell’s book ‘On Poetry’ (Oberon Books 2016) is worth a read. And if you like it, it will always be under your pillow.   It’s not a conventional ‘how-to book’ more a book that creeps into your thoughts and shifts them a little…..


Here he looks at the four dimensions of poetry

  • The sunlit side of its immediate meanings

  • The moonlit side of the meanings it gives more deeply

  • Its musicality (when read aloud)

  • Its visual dimension (how it draws the reader into a sensory experience)

We looked at ‘My blue hen’ by Ann Gray.  It is a poem full of strange images circling a feeling of loss.  We discussed the above four dimensions in relation to this poem and the effect the poem had on us individually.


With all this in mind, we wrote again around other postcard images and shared some of our words.


We next looked at a collection by Jacqueline Saphra ‘All my mad mothers’ (published by Nine Arches Press). The poet uses many extended metaphors to describe the mother.  We discussed our reactions to the piece, which were in general a feeling of discomfort and sometimes repulsion.


We then had 20 minutes for our own writing using metaphor and imagery inspired by the postcards, the poetry and our discussions.  Some strong writing emerged, as group members were inspired to look at old themes in a new way.   For example:

  • Veronica emerging from a shell

  • Canadian childhood

  • A magical trip to the woods ‘sucked back flying through the hedge of morning’

  • An imaginary brother who was kept ‘in the difficult room’

  • A mother from memory with vivid imagery

So, a big thank you to Roz Goddard for the workshop and thanks to all group members for their contribution to a thought-provoking morning.

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