Lemn Sissay – Poetry workshop in York

Finding that Lemn Sissay was leading a workshop in York provided the perfect incentive to head for a day out in the rich Viking, Roman and Tudor city; sights, shops, poetry and of course Betty’s Tea Room to finish the day.

cat on the Shambles

After a trip down The Shambles, where for some
reason I had not previously
spotted the pictured cat, a jumble sale browse a few shops and a light lunch and off to the Unitarian Church; the venue for Lemn’s workshop. A combination of Google maps and spotting the man himself outside the church and we soon joined the group of waiting writers in the vestibule.

It wouldn’t be right to share the content of the Workshop but Lemn was a lovely host and facilitator and he soon had the whole group feeling at ease and before long we were all writing whilst listening to his unique style of tales, inspiration and tips. The work involved a simple rhyme scheme and with this in mind Lemn offered to be our rhyming dictionary for the session; not only does he have a massive wealth of rhymes and understanding of how words sound together but this also led to a fair deal of enjoyable and informative discussion.

What I can share is a little bit about what I gained from the session:

  • A new poem – see picture below; I had the start of it on the day and 8 or so revisions later I have now read it publicly to a good reception.
  • A new project – I had already written a small number of poems on a theme and had become a bit unsure about adding to them. After the workshop I am now clear that I will continue to add to that project and have since written another piece of what might form the basis of a small collection.
  • A great day out with my wife Maggie with lots of chance to talk about those things we are passionate about.
  • The chance to meet and talk to one of my poetic heroes Lemn Sissay
  • More coals have been added to the fire that drove me to move from doing a bit of writing to being a poet and making my living from my creative work.

Here’s a picture of the work in earlier stages of progress before the final edits were done on my computer (Yes, I know you can’t read the words but it isn’t published yet).

Come on Hat poem