Simon Armitage, videopoem, video, poem, travel, poetry

Making poetry from the ordinary: Travel

Proof positive that when you’re writing a powerful poem, its shape can be something as simple as a twist on an everyday voice/situation, or the banal pauses between events. And yes, it can include humour.  And it can be great in a video.

(Video by Faber & Faber to illustrate poem “Thank you for Waiting)

Creative Takeaway Prompt

Do you have a very ordinary, boring situation/conversation/speech which you hear everyday?  Take that form and write it so that you make it talk about something else, something you feel passionately about.  Increase the strength of your words at the end to the extreme.  (As Simon Armitage does, in this video).

Advanced – time how long you think it will take you to read your poem, allowing an extra 5-10 seconds. Have a friend video you on a mobile phone in that banal situation, then do a voiceover of yourself reading the poem.  Finally, have the courage to put it on Youtube and publicise it in social media (this could be as simple as your personal Facebook page or Twitter.)

More video work – look at your written poems so far – is there one whose atmosphere could be videoed in a setting which reinforces the message?


Giftings and art revitalising Community

I randomly came across an article today which startled me: “Death and Resurrection of an urban church” – in which a church in Indianapolis ditched its traditional-church charity one-way ‘handout to the poor’ approach to local community, to begin truly listening and valuing people in the neighbourhood and their gifts.


Harges: “I was curious about what was good in people, and that was what I was going to find out”

After employing De’Amon Harges to be a “roving listener” – to hang out with people in the neighbourhood, and see their giftings, the church then made opportunities for those – now providing a meeting place for a metropolitan youth orchestra and eclectic mix of artist, gamers, a dance studio, a pottery shop, and an office for a small architectural firm.  They acquired a commercial kitchen license and now local folk use it for catering startups.

This is such a success that the church now hires 15-20 young folks to be part-time roving listeners.  There are lots of simple meals where people of like interests and gifts meet together – through these, people have found jobs, collaborators, encouragement to train further – and friends.

The article is easy to read, written by Robert King (initially published in Faith & Leadership mag 2015) and over at: