Poetry Party begins early at Poetry Swindon Festival

2 Oct

I’m sure the Poetry Party is Sunday. But it sounds like it’s started early.

Nope, it’s the 52ers, having reunion fun on the hammocks and mattresses of the Lower Shaw Farm play area, on day two (Friday) of Poetry Swindon Festival.

The 52 project began as a Facebook challenge set by this year’s Poetry Swindon Festival’s resident poet, Jo Bell. Jo provided weekly prompts for a year for poets – budding to prize-winning – to write a poem a week.

It was a surprise success and ‘global phenomenon’ with ‘52’ poems cropping up in many magazines and award ceremonies. Today over lunch a few poets read their entries from the newly published 52 anthology.

One poet remarked that she had far more fun on Facebook than in real life that year. Hear that – fun. Maybe even if writing about death.

Which is how Jo Bell started her workshop this morning, so I overheard. ‘X-Ray Spex – seeing the unseen’, culminated in participants writing to ‘their dead’. Afterwards, one poet said that she had wished she was somewhere else. Anyone who knows Jo Bell – Facebook or otherwise – would expect her to be unapologetic. ‘What are we writing for?’ was something like her response when it was suggested that the exercise might be upsetting.

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