Poetry Workshop

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Poet Ruth Padel launches the first edition in a four part landmark series "Poetry Workshop" which taps into the excitement and pleasures of writing and reading poetry.

More and more of us are connecting with poetry for pleasure or emotional insight, for memorable comfort at moments of personal crisis, and to discover new ways of seeing our own lives.

Unprecedented access to poems and poets means that any of us can engage with it even if we have felt shut out from it in the past.

Poetry and its fans are everywhere - on the underground, internet and in science labs; on the stage at slams and festivals; in pubs, schools, colleges and in workshops and reading groups.

Radio 4's Poetry Workshop aims to deepen the experience for those who love to spend time with poetry and to open up to everybody new ways of connecting with it.

By exploring how specific poems work in a practical setting the series will profile the talent and enormous enthusiasm for poetry round the country.

The first workshop comes from Exeter where members of ExCite - one of the Poetry Society's regional "Stanza" groups - join Ruth Padel and fellow poet Lawrence Sail to work on some of their poems in progress.

Radio 4 listeners get to eavesdrop as Ruth and Lawrence guide the Workshop members through the process of writing and improving their poems, sharing practical and inspirational pointers as well as encouraging new ways of thinking.

As they go behind the scenes of the poems to look at their techniques, language and wordplay, they reveal the creative processes and craft that make poetry so rewarding.

Ruth Padel is the author of 'Darwin - A Life in Poems'; the best-selling book '52 Ways of Looking at a Poem'.

Producers: Sara Davies and Sarah Langan.

Ruth Padel presents a new series about how to enjoy writing and reading poetry.

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Ruth Padel presents a landmark series exploring the pleasures of writing and reading poems.

Poetry is everywhere, and all over the country workshops of aspiring poets meet to work together on their craft.

The Edinburgh School of Poets is one such group, and Ruth joins them to work on three of their poems on the theme of 'Family Ties'.

The text of all the poems featured will be available on the Radio 4 website a few days before the broadcast.

Ruth and the group listen to the poems and offer practical and inspirational pointers to each other.

As they go behind the scenes of the poems, testing and pruning, exploring technical things like structure, rhyme and line endings, they reveal the imagination and the skill that makes poetry so rewarding for both writers and readers of poetry.

The poems from the group include about a tender one about the never ending anxieties of motherhood, which includes some interesting Scottish words like 'stravaiging'.

There's also a funny piece about the pre-occupation with genealogy, and a moving poem about an attempt to piece together a picture of a lost family member from their remaining personal effects.

The group also share and appreciate a poem by the award winning poet Don Paterson, called The Thread.

Producers: Sarah Langan and Sara Davies.

Ruth Padel presents a landmark series exploring the joys of writing and reading poetry.

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The third in Ruth Padel's landmark series exploring the pleasures of writing and reading poems comes from Newcastle, where Ruth leads a workshop for group of poets working on their own poems on the theme of The City.

Poetry and poetry fans are everywhere - on the underground, buses and the internet; in schools, colleges and universities; on the stage at slams and festivals; in pubs, theatres and concert halls; in reading groups and writing workshops. All over the country groups of aspiring poets meet regularly to work together on their craft, and in this series Ruth taps into the energy of these poetry workshops to explore how poems work for both writers and readers. In Newcastle, she joins seven poets at the beginning of their writing careers, who have all won recent awards for their poetry, to work on some of their poems on the theme of The City The text of all the poems featured will be available on the Radio 4 website a few days before the broadcast.

Ruth and the group listen to the poems and offer practical and inspirational pointers to each other. As they go behind the scenes of the poems, testing and pruning, exploring technical points like structure, rhyme and line endings, they reveal the imagination and the skill that makes poetry so rewarding for both writers and readers of poetry.

The group also share and appreciate a poem by the award winning poet Sean O'Brien called Essay on Snow.

Producer: Sara Davies.

Ruth leads a workshop in Newcastle for a group of poets on the theme of The City.

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Ruth Padel's landmark series exploring the pleasures of writing and reading poems comes this time from The Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, where Ruth leads a workshop with the Junkbox poetry group.

To warm up their poetry muscles, the group try out some writing exercises. These will be available on the website for anyone who wants to give them a go. Then they work on developing and refining poems from two members of the group; acting (as Heaney describes it) as "the reader over my shoulder." The poems are Milking Time by Becky Lowe and Still Life with Wine Glasses by Alan Kellerman. Both have a sense of loss or longing. The group discuss line endings, alliteration and adjectives, and the effectiveness of their use in the two poems. They also enjoy and respond to a poem by Gwyneth Lewis that evokes that peculiarly Welsh phenomenon 'hiraeth'.

Producer: Sarah Langan.

Ruth Padel leads a workshop with the Junkbox poets at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea.

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Ruth Padel and the The Dove Cottage Poets in Grasmere work on some poems in progress. 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 Padel begins a new series of programmes by working with The Dove Cottage Poets in Grasmere.

Going behind the scenes of the poems, the group are ruthless yet supportive as they chuck out words and redraft; listening, pruning and testing their work as they go. The theme for this week's poems is fathers, apt of course for the home-place of Wordsworth, the father of English romanticism.

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 bravely try out a writing exercise to warm up their poetry muscles, focussing on line endings by experimenting with a very famous poem by William Carlos Williams. They also consider a poem by a much loved poet associated with the area; Norman Nicholson.

Producer: Sarah Langan.

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 bravely try out a writing exercise to warm up their poetry muscles, and consider a poem by one of the poets in residence at Dove Cottage.

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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.

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Ruth Padel works with a group of poets who meet at Stalybridge Station buffet bar in Manchester. Testing their poems 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 like this one, and in libraries and in front rooms, poets meet to sharpen their verse.

Ruth and the group work on three very different poems on the theme of 'journeys' - both symbolic and actual. One poem takes us to Zante via Watford Gap, one considers perspective and scale from on high, whilst another has a much darker tone. The group will pay particular attention this week to metaphor.

The group consider the use of metaphor in their poems that are touching, funny and perceptive. Ruthless support is applied as they chuck out each other's words and test and prune as they go.

They discuss the techniques, inspiration, wordplay and imagination that make poetry so enjoyable and rewarding. As well as working on their own poems, they also consider a poem by Carol Ann Duffy called Close.

Producer: Sarah Langan.

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The Shalom House Poets meet regularly in Belfast Central Library to dole out tough love on each other's poems. Ruth Padel joins them as they workshop their poems in a spirit of supportive criticism, going behind the scenes of a poem to find out which techniques work and which don't.

Ruth and the group work on three very different poems on the theme of 'windows'. One of them is an intricate observation of a sculpture in Salzburg, another is an enigmatic reflection on shadows, and there's a nostalgic and powerful recollection of a living room in Belfast.

The technical focus this week will be on inspiration and description.The group discuss the techniques, inspiration, wordplay and imagination that make poetry so enjoyable and rewarding. As well as working on their own poems, they also consider a very well know one by Louis MacNeice; 'Snow'.

Producer: Sarah Langan.