Students arrive back from Human Writes residential trip
Through the crowd I stand tall though my spine has been crumpled, folded and unfolded by fumbling, lazy fingers, my skin may be peeling and shedding but people still call me home these people sleep between my ribs tuck dreams under tissue and tired responsibilities right next to my heart
Every beat is the crack of concrete under cautious feet or the rattling of walls from loud mouths and music and meaning every beat pumps stories through otherwise hollow veins these arteries are clogged with secrete -
it’s all tinder.
And when you insulate lungs with lies and loose change I am bound to go up in flames watch me burn.
Watch as I disintegrate and dust covers up the last reminders - these broken gravestones.
I keep epitaphs under my tongues because one day someone will be allowed to listen.
The Human Writes project is well underway, as the 6 young poets who were selected to lead the project, have just returned from the residential writing course. They spent a week in a 16th century manor house in Devon called Totleigh Barton where they received mentoring, in both group and one-to-one contexts, from influential and professional poets: Joelle Taylor and Anthony Anaxagoru.
Each day would commence with a 3 hour workshop lead by one of the professional poets, where students would be encouraged to think abstractly, visually and independently in order to progress their poetic abilities. At the end of each workshop the students would share their work to the group who would offer informal feedback and reassuring praise After the morning workshop the students had the freedom to either indulge in countryside dwellings or to further work on their poetry before their daily one-to-one session with either Joelle or Anthony.
On the final night of the residency there was a performance night where each student shared three or four of the poems that they had written while at Totleigh Barton. When performing the students spoke with eloquence and confidence, despite the fact that they are all very new to the performance side of poetry. After the performances were finished the poet laureates enthusiastically made plans to all meet again before they start the next part of their new lives and begin their library residencies.
Below is a poem that Chelsea (aged 15) wrote as a response to the Grenfell tower tragedy.