Local Poets Collaborate With Arts Project During Lockdown
7th July 2020
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Local poets have collaborated with an arts project during lockdown.  On 10th July they will take part in poetry readings with a special guest and all by way of a virtual performance during lockdown.  The event is designed to support spoken word and poetry and to create connectivity between poets.  There will also be a booklet of the poetry published to commemorate the event.     "The Poetree Project was put together to encourage members of the local community to write even if they had never done so before" said organiser Lisa Johnson.   "The tree was installed on the wall of The Space Station in Stafford, a new community arts space in the town centre, set up to bring creative activities and opportunities to local people. Without the generosity of The Space Station this project would not have taken place and we thank them for giving the project the time and space in which to grow."     In its early stages the tree was quite a basic structure and was strung with washing lines pegged with small squares of paper and a few poems from famous poets from different eras. "The hope was that people would take time to sit and reflect and perhaps leave a short piece of writing" explained Lisa.   "As the project evolved and more experienced writers took part, a supportive framework was formed and new writers and those who just wanted to use poetry to help process thoughts were encouraged to write short pieces of poetry."    As time went on a fabulous selection of poetry was submitted and the Poetree came into full leaf.  "This brought about the decision to have an event at which the poetry could be shared and celebrated but then came lockdown" said Lisa.  " Undeterred and with support from The Space Station team, the event for the Spring Selection was moved online and we had a wonderful time sharing the poems from the Poetree through live performances, film and audio recordings. It is important to the project that all contributions to the project are shared and to do so offer as many different ways for this to happen as possible. Another way to recognise how grateful the project was for people taking part was to frame the poems individually and hang them from the branches of the Poetree."    In this way Lisa Johnson  hoped other members of the public could drop in to view them, enjoy them and perhaps be encouraged to take part in creative projects themselves.  "As this couldn’t take place" said Lisa " it was decided to record and share the poems from The Spring Selection in a booklet and has proven a great way to keep the Spring Poetree alive whilst we now move on to The Summer Selection. The Summer Poetree has been installed at The Space Station and shared via the project’s Facebook Page until people are once again able to view it in situ. A Summer Selection booklet has been prepared and will be available later this month."     Lisa is pleased with the development of the project.  " As the project continues  it’s been fantastic to see participants enjoy the support of more establish members of the spoken word scene, form links with other projects and take part in events in the local area" she said.   "The poetry community is a vibrant environment that offers a supportive network for everyone to enjoy regardless of whether or not they write poetry themselves. It is somewhere that actively celebrates each individual with what they bring whether that be as an audience member, reading at an event for the first time to writing a book or winning an award."    The effect poetry has can be just the most wonderful surprise and we are fortunate in the West Midlands to have so many talented people who generously share their time and skill.   "Lockdown has at least brought us the consolation that so many events are now more accessible as they are taking place online" said Lisa.   "One of them being Poems around the Poetree – The Summer Selection, our next Poetree event!"   The event will take place online on the 10th of July and is hosted by The Space Station. "It will be crammed full of fabulous poetry" Lisa explained  "and you can find details of it on the Poetree Project Facebook Page and The Space Station Facebook page."
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Ian Henery

Member since: 4th February 2019

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Award winning poet and playwright
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