Thursday 11 March 2021 - via Zoom

 The Poetry Of Place/s - Workshop Led By Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith 

Poets, and other writers, have always evoked places - real, imagined, earthly, extraordinary....and there's a rich imaginative seam to be tapped in our own memories of places, and in places we have never been, but can imagine. Places aren't just a setting or a backdrop 'where action happens' - they can be imagined as 'characters' in their own right, with their own agendas; as Julie Burchill once said, 'Brighton is a place constantly in the process of helping the police with its enquiries.'

In this workshop, we'll look at some examples of poems evoking places and spaces (exterior and interior) and, through free-writing and other writing games/techniques, we'll generate drafts of our own poems. Bring an open mind - no actual travel documents/passport needed. 


Biography - Catherine Smith, writer, performer and teacher

Catherine Smith’s first short poetry collection, The New Bride (Smith/Doorstop) was short-listed for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, 2001. Her first full-length collection, The Butcher’s Hands, (Smith/Doorstop) was a PBS Recommendation and was short-listed for the Aldeburgh/Jerwood Prize, 2004. In 2004 she was voted one of Mslexia’s ‘Top Ten UK Women Poets’ and one of ‘the twenty most exhilarating poets of her generation’ in the PBS/Arts Council ‘Next Generation’ promotion.

Lip, (Smith/Doorstop) was short-listed for the Forward Prize for Best Collection, 2008. Her most recent full length poetry collection is Otherwhere (Smith/Doorstop). Her poetry for adults and for children is widely anthologized.

She has performed her poetry at The Royal Festival Hall, Latitude and Port Eliot Festivals. She has judged numerous poetry and fiction competitions for adults and children.

Her first short story collection, The Biting Point, was published by Speechbubble Books in November 2010. Two of her short stories, several poems and a radio drama, Jellybelly, have been broadcast by BBC Radio. In 2009 she was commissioned by the BBC to write 15 ‘micro-fictions’ set in Oxford, for Made in England which were projected onto the roof of Salisbury Cathedral and broadcast on ‘BBC South Today.’ She has twice worked with Lewes Live Literature. In 2010/11 three of her short stories were adapted for a Live Literature stage performance, Weight. The New Cockaigne, a pamphlet length supernatural, satirical poem, imagining the medieval fantasy land of Cockaigne imposed by law on 21st Century Britain, (published by The Frogmore Press), and adapted and performed as a Live Literature show in 2014.

She is currently working on a novel, some supernatural short stories and a sequence of linked prose poems/microfictions, which may be published as part of a new poetry collection, or as experimental prose.


Review of the meeting


Catherine lead a workshop about poems evoking times and places, so that we generated drafts of our own poems. As Catherine said - our actual travel possibilities might be limited, but there were no limits as to where or when, our poems might take us. By the end of the evening members were able to share a large number of impressively varied pieces of work.