sharing poems in the park

So, I’ve done it. I can update my writing CV to say I was Poet in Residence at Thrive Battersea for the Open Garden Squares Weekend 2016. It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience — both the run up to the weekend, spending time in the Herb Garden and the Old English Garden, sitting, thinking, observing, making notes; and the weekend itself, just gone, as I shared the poems I’ve written with visitors to the two gardens.

In the Herb Garden, I hung haiku from the branches of a black walnut tree. I also tied a few laminated poems to benches in both gardens for people to happen across. Rather than schedule readings for set times, I decided to offer individual readings as people dropped by, which I thought would suit these peaceful and slightly hidden-away pockets of Battersea Park. This meant that, apart from friends who’d come specifically to support me, I had to approach people and ask them if they’d like me to read them a poem. Wonderfully, most people I asked were receptive, and this led to some lovely conversations about poetry, gardens and personal memories of the park. Several people mentioned they also write poetry, and a couple of them read a poem of their own to me in return. I also had a bunch of poem postcards printed, with a short acrostic poem about Thrive, so people had something tangible to take away from my residency.

With thanks to Thrive, The Poetry School and London Parks and Gardens Trust for this great opportunity. And a big thank you to everyone who showed an interest and listened!
Photos kindly taken by Nick Rogers.

May I read you a poem? Herb Garden, 18th June 2016
haiku tree, Herb Garden, 19th June 2016
inspiration for my ‘vampire squirrel’ poem, Herb Garden, 18th June 2016
keen listener, or vampire in disguise? Old English Garden, 18th June 2016
reading to Thrive gardeners and volunteers, Old English Garden, 19th June 2016
receptive audience, Old English Garden, 19th June 2016

7 thoughts on “sharing poems in the park

  1. joolz sparkes

    …vampire squirrel most definitely! Sounds wonderful and what lovely locations you were in. As a former TFL tube poet in residence I envy the fresh air you were breathing! Congrats on your readings and the fantastic poems that have come out of your residency.

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