The Friday Workshop: Take 4

3 Feb

This weeks Mouthy workshop welcomed the awesome guest speaker Roger Robinson to help better our poetry in general; through structure, lexical choice, metrics and phonology. We also welcomed Ideas Tap to the fold for a collaborative and packed night where some really interesting ideas were raised.

Roger Robinson is a Trinidadian writer and international performer who has lived in London for the past 20 years. He’s had one man shows, books, prizes and influenced the black-British canon. We were thus in amazing company and everyone left the workshop having gained something. The event was live tweeted and can be followed up on the @mouthypoets page with the hashtag #Workshop4 (make sure to click ‘All’ rather than ‘Top’ to view in chronological order – as the # has been used before).

Some of the ideas Roger explained caused controversy, such as ‘any adjectives…get rid of them’. On further looking into this we discovered that sensory adjectives are okay and of course you have to remember that you can create noun phrases with them too, in which case it isn’t an adjective anymore – so don’t worry too much! Since being told this I can’t help but notice how little adjectives are used in ‘good’ poetry, so despite my initial rebuttal I see sense in it.

It was great listening to and participating with Roger, who was eager to be challenged and to hear our efforts. Not only this but he was very succinct in his approach to offering advice and ideas for our poetry. One of the most important I think was his structure for all poetry. MISS

M – Music: how does it sound? Is it consistent? Use of assonance, sibilance, plosives

I  – Imagination/Imagery: the senses, your inspiration and the possibility of a poem

S – Story: what is the point of focus? What are you telling the reader/listener? Is it coherent?

S – Structure: this is your armoury, what kind of form for the purpose? Graphology and it’s part in reading the poem.

Roger believed that Story and Imagination come first, they are vital to your work, though this is not gospel. Though through such a simple framework you can really help keep a poem focused and ensure that what you create is a balanced whole rather than merely good in certain aspects.

There are plenty of ideas from Roger Robinson on the Twitter feed, please do check it out and work through a poem to see how you can better it but we will pick one out for you, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

Make sure to check out Roger Robinson’s website! Ideas Tap, thank you so much for coming along and finally.

Say Sum Thin 8 is fast approaching. Get Tickets for our Scratch Show and Headline Show NOW!

Task To Go

Cliches and how they have to go.

Cliches are bad. They show how little you’ve been reading.

If you have a cliche in your poem, get rid of it…or subvert it!

“You must learn to walk before you can run” – NO.

“My love is like a blossoming flower” – NO.

“My head is in the clouds” – NO.

If you can create an image that no one else can conceive then your imagery and writing is strong. If you can’t find that imagery, get rid of that cliche! Simple. As. That.


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