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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

16 January 2023

Posted by Tabby Hayward

Turning the Human to Creature

In our first session, we got to know each other and the sort of writing everyone is interested in. The writers were then challenged to think of an animal (including insects, reptiles, birds or fish…) which represented how they were feeling. Following some writing prompts around the animal, and a free writing exercise, we looked at some example poems ('Toad' by Fiona Benson, 'Moth' by Alice Oswald, and 'Of the Snail and its Loveliness' by Victoria Adukwei-Bulley) which explore the relationship between creatures and humans, even when the creatures aren’t necessarily the most obviously poetic or beautiful.

Inspired by this, the writers looked back over their free writing and began shaping their ideas into poems. Here are some examples:

By David Atkinson:

Likely to move quickly at speed across land
Sometimes found via a general tickle on one hand.
Tranquil at times, yet heavy lifting each day
Going left, going right searching for new pathways yet to be
Walking in lines, tough to deviate.
Not a message so simple that you can relate.
Taking time to reason, simply understand.
No more rule books, no more rules, only teamwork
togetherness will stop us being fooled.
No more sleep, no more trips, or maybe a few to pick up some
leaf tips.
I am a tiny Ant, but a giant insect hit.

The Doe – by Heather Beattie

A whisper of fine breath floating into oblivion
In the new, cold sunlight of a wintry dawn.
A slight, slow movement of rippling hide
Embracing the sinews taut with caution.

Sudden, sharp sound.
Unnatural. Loud.
Intruding on the calm.

Sinking silently into the shadows
She fades into the skeleton trees.




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