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Episode 2

Poetry Workshop, Series 2 Episode 2 of 4

Ruth Padel meets poets from East Suffolk to work on some poems in progress. Testing and revising as they go, in a spirit of supportive criticism. Tough love for poems.
Poetry Workshops are gathering all over the country. In the back rooms of pubs, in libraries and in front rooms, poets meet to hone their craft and sharpen their verse.
Ruth and the group work on three very different poems on the theme of 'darkness' - poems that evoke mystery, longing and sadness. In the process they consider the pros and cons of abstractions and the effective use of titles in a poem. The group are ruthless yet supportive as they chuck out words and redraft; listening, pruning and testing their work as they go.
The group discuss the techniques, inspiration, wordplay and imagination that make poetry so enjoyable and rewarding. As well as working on their own poems, the group consider a poem by Lavinia Greenlaw called 'Night Photograph.'
Producer: Sarah Langan.

Release date:

30 minutes

Last on

Sat 17 Nov 2012 23:30

Lies, Damned Lies and Alzheimer's by Richard Whiting

You are in the dark;

and whatever it takes

we will keep you there,

against our will.


We have black-out curtains

to block stray light,

moments when we play along

with your midnight words.


The danger comes

from lightning 

flashing across your memory,

illuminating your despair


when you seem to know

that the world

has draped you

in its shadow.


These brief moments,

leave you lonely in their wake

whilst we, the enlightened,

pray for night.


Darkness by Florence Cox

The moon is a low pink swingboat 

scooping its way through the racing clouds.


Hail calls at my window

with its hurled handfuls of grit.


I would like love, not this cold caller,

to come tapping at my window.


I have laid out my loneliness tonight

like a street vendor with nothing to lose,

voice lost in the whirling of indifferent crowds.


I want to be held close under the swingboat moon

till my sluggish juices run again

and my heart rushes to meet

a fuller life.


But the old pine

is snagging the moon in its arms,

tossing its head indignantly,

flinging down showers of needles

to prick and criss-cross

the dark, obdurate earth.


The Progress by Dean Parkin

The mess, the waste, the jumble, the endless 

hassles and glitches, the phased or fizzled out,

the fretting, the punctured, the doubts, the anguish,

the entire dismal pug-ugly business. From this

out of something like a front door

a man. The morning

must be early or winter and still dark, but he is here

out the gate, from the wretched

not exactly awake but a start,

showered, shaved and nicked, awoken

nobody, not yet spoken, relieved at the slow progress –

the milk float, the zigzag of a paperboy

though the light our man makes now

is not match to cigarette

but the screen of a phone which he checks and taps,

the blue dot on a satellite map moving on foot

onwards from one bleak mood to this –

feels a little fresh, he says

to no-one but himself

under his breath, a release.

Night Photograph by Lavinia Greenlaw