We’ve been loving all the parents coming and going at our groups over the past couple of weeks. It’s so lovely to meet new faces and allow a different kind of space for parents to connect and explore who they are in their new identity and how this fits with their old identities. This week we had the privilege of a Guest Leader to our sessions – the brilliant spoken-poet-word-artist-human-performance-person Helen Seymour (find out more about this magnificent human at whatthehelen.net – top image of Helen, photo by Mark Dawson).
We took a break from exploring dystopian futures to have a look at how poetry can be such a great platform for getting to the heart of our messy selves. Helen took us through some fantastically inspiring poems and then we got the chance to collectively write some attempts ourselves!
(here’s the list of poems we explored if you want to read them yourselves:
‘The men are weeping in the gym’ – Andrew McMillan, Physical
‘Thirteen’ – Kate Tempest, Hold Your Own
‘The End of the Bed’ – Caroline Bird, In these days of prohibition
‘Banana Baby’ – Hollie McNish, Nobody Told Me
‘Embarrassed’ – Hollie McNish, Nobody Told Me
Link to watch Embarrassed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiS8q_fifa0 )
We explored what our general judgements and perceptions are to poetry, how it can often feel highbrow or bizarre, but we also looked at how accessible it can be and how we can connect with others through its imagery and experiences. Hollie McNish’s new book Nobody Told Me, a collection of poetry and diary entries that she kept from the moment she discovered she was pregnant until her daughter was three, inspired us to look at the experiences of being a parent. We had a go at what Helen taught us to be a “list poem” – it’s not too hard to write a list is it?! And lo and behold we managed to pull together a poem of ourselves. (It’s our first attempt so don’t be too critical, but I for one think we all could be budding poets!)
Nobody Told Me (after McNish): Our List Poem, Draft One
Nobody told me it was lonely
Nobody told me you had to wee so much
Nobody told me you need two packets of maternity pads in the hospital
Nobody told me you would feel guilty all the time
Nobody told me the sleep deprivation starts in pregnancy
Nobody told me how much I’d appreciate my mum
Nobody told me how suddenly scared I’d be of losing her
Nobody told me you would constantly be apologising
Nobody told me it was their opinion
Nobody told me how your relationship changes
Nobody told me how I much I would totally and utterly adore her
Everybody told me to treasure every moment.
We also came up with a second collective poem through a different style of exploration but we’ll save that for our next blog post so watch out..!
Thanks so much to Helen for coming in and although she explored poetry with us in our session, she is also a theatre-maker with a brilliant upcoming tour…
If you’re a new parent and want to come and join our creative discussion group along with your babies, check out our website for more info.