'Blackout poetry' aims to spark creativity and connections in Warwickshire - The Stratford Observer
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10th Aug, 2022

'Blackout poetry' aims to spark creativity and connections in Warwickshire

A POETRY project is aiming to unite communities at either end of Warwickshire.

Creative wellbeing charity Escape Arts has launched ‘Gateways’ to connect people and places at its two centres in Stratford and Nuneaton.

The project is part of a wider scheme called ‘Mind the Gap’ with funding from London Northwestern Railway.

The weekly creative sessions focus on ‘blackout poetry’ which uses words from existing texts – such as travel guides, a leaflet or article – to create a poem. Words which are not used are blacked out in ink.

The finished poetry and artworks will be used in installations around the centre of Stratford and at Nuneaton Train Station.

Creative programme manager Dionne Sambrook explained: “This is a good way to introduce people to composing poetry, particularly people who may not think of themselves as poets, those who may have limited language skills and those who lack confidence in creative writing. It also allows lots of scope for illustration and artistry.

“The groups have really enjoyed the sessions so far and confirmed that certainly everyone can write poetry!”

Coventry Poet Laureate Emilie Lauren Jones is helping to run the sessions.

She said: “I was aware of all the great work that Escape Arts do and was really pleased when they got in touch. It was also a challenge for me as I usually run largely writing based activities but the team at Escape Arts felt visual poetry would work best for their 25th anniversary celebrations and I’m so glad they did! It’s made me think far more out of the box when putting together activities for my workshops.

“I’ve loved being amazed at every session by the participants’ ability to merge words and art in unique ways.

“I also think it is wonderful that people can take an existing piece of writing – maybe one they don’t like or agree with – and take ownership of it by making it into something new and beautiful.”

Gateways will be installed in summer with some of the poetry being performed live by Emilie Jones at an event later in the year.

Exhibitions of previous projects including Left Luggage – platform stories and personal journeys to advocate wellbeing – in the shop window displays in Bell Court have been installed this week.

Visit www.emilielaurenjones.co.uk for more details on Emilie and www.escapearts.org.uk for details on the charity.

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