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24 May 2023

Posted by Antosh Wojcik & Claire Hillier

WORDCUP - Hounsdown Session #3

Antosh’s Report:

Part of the joy of WORDCUP is the deeper work it resources with a group of young poets. Hounsdown is brimming with poetic talent, which ArtfulScribe and Ms Nobes have nurtured through almost a decade of Wessex School Slam and it’s a privilege to be taking further steps into the poetic worlds of each of these young writers, with the prospect of showcasing them on the local and national stage.

The group’s confidence and determination to write is palpable, their dedication, unwavering - even amid exams and college decisions. Claire and I return to Hounsdown to write odes and R&D our group writing dynamic. ArtfulScribe believes in giving as much agency as possible to young people, advocating for their vision in the creative process. We’ve crowdsourced a ‘bagel theory’ for group work - a writing and performance model that guides how the writers work with each other in the space.

Today’s task is to make some headway into the open theme poem that WORDCUP asks of us. The group are guided to focusing on what it is they’re interested in writing and we arrive at ‘objects’ - which is great, from a facilitator point of view. Objects allow us to tackle the universal through the specific and bringing objects together in a group piece is ripe with possibilities. 

We share some favourite odes to objects and use the form to cover some ground on what poetic territory the group can explore in this writing. We share and agree to refine the odes for the next session, ready for the poems to be combined in a group piece. We’re excited for the writing and where we will take these poems.

Claire’s Report:


When: Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

Where: Hounsdown School - English Department

Who: (Poet Coach) Antosh Wojcik, (Assistant Poet Coach) Claire Hillier.

Welcome to Session #3

Following last session’s slam, the WORDCUP 23 Wessex Team has been formed.

We have 8 team members, and a few reserve poets. Big Congratulations to everyone on board!

We opened with a check in, asking if our day was a beach activity what would it be, and why?

Antosh: sitting on a pier listening to the fizz of the tide

Kitty: making a sandcastle the sea washes half away

Rhianna: beach volleyball - fast paced

Xenya: sunbathing. Strong winds. Lying still

Sam: volleyball. Up & down. I’m the ball

Lucy: volleyball. I don't understand and can't keep up

Ava: volleyball. Tiring. strenuous

Amy: volleyball. On a calm day

Cassie: surfing in a storm

●     Claire: cold toes at the shoreline. wanting to swim


Following the check-in we discussed the upcoming poetry events we need to be ready for;

  1. MAST Slam on July 4th in Southampton

  2. WORDCUP Showcase on the 14/15/16th July in Manchester.

For these we need to create and perform 2 x group poems.

The two categories are

  1. Theme of ‘Witness’

  2. Open Theme [theme chosen by the team]

We did a freewriting exercise reflecting on the following questions;

What would you like to write?

What are you exploring?

What are you interested in?

●     What do you find yourself thinking about?

This investigation brought up some very interesting concepts around potential themes.

Antosh then introduced, what we are now calling, his ‘bagel theory’. This is about the impact and dynamic nature of group work, and how the poem as a collective piece has certain challenges, but also feeds us, as we feed into it. This was extended by the group who self-identified as ‘subway workers’ or ‘sandwich technicians’ and they drew on baseball caps to represent this. They make the bagel/poem together. The bagel/poem makes them poets/artists.

After this we focused on the ‘Open Theme’ and came up with a list of ideas;

Objects point of view

Emotion & permission


Different peoples experiences (chorus repetition)

Decisions & effects

Options & possibilities

Animals. Food chain. Tiger vs Hamster

Heartbreak. Deep stuff


Lucky objects

A shower of thoughts

Opinions/informing society


Life from the 3rd person. Aliens

●     Body


Looking at the list we discussed each suggestion and identified ‘Objects’ as a repeating theme; this was agreed upon by the whole class.

Taking this topic into the realms of poetry - we decided to play with the idea of writing an Ode. We looked at examples of famous Odes.

  1. Ode to My Socks by Pablo Neruda

  2. Ode to Dirt by Sharon Olds.


We then did another freewriting exercise ‘Ode to ____ (an object). Some really great poems started to form.

We compiled a list of the specific objects people chose to write about;






Pizza wheel

Stress jumper

Wedding ring


Polaroid pictures

●     Stone with a hole (hag stone)

A few members of the group were willing to share their work. We heard some excellent poetry;

Ode to Earth from Ella

Ode to the Trees from Sam

Ode to my Stress Jumper

Ode to Words from Cassie

●     Ode to my Docs from the teacher (love this)

We then started thinking about where objects can be kept;

In other objects

A black hole/the void

Somewhere no-one will find them

In the bin

nucleus/DNA/who you are

In memory

In a drawer

A gallery

In your mouth

The overfull cupboard


A fridge


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