LAURIE BOLGER LOOKS BACK ON HER TIME IN THE POETRY POTTING SHED
Parked up next to the South Plaza Fountains this cosy little number was host to hundreds of members of the public from oldies, to parents to little’uns to teens. In sunshine or heavy rain the shed drew in the most amazing crowds of people who dug, planted and grew their own poetry with a little help from myself and my “miracle grow” shadow artist Becci Fearnley.
Highlights from the week included a little legend with big ideas named Holly. Holly came into the shed with her mum and wrote a poem titled, “The Edible Bedroom” it was epic! She then sat on the biggest chair in the shed and read her story-poem to a group of under five’s, who came in and sat on the floor. They laughed and listened and clapped and it was magic to watch.
I think it’s pretty cool that one minute you find yourself walking through the huge space that is The Olympic Park and then the next minute you are chatting to a total stranger in a tiny shed, sharing memories and words with them. It didn’t matter what age or who you were, all our visitors opened their minds and got creative. Families wrote group pieces and left the shed giggling and reciting each others poems.
Even a few bashful shoppers wandering to Westfield stopped in to see “what it was all about” and the next minute the whole shed was in tears as one of the ladies wrote a poem titled “A Letter to Myself”. She has written an emotional piece from the voice of her mum who had died this year and what she would say to her had she been shopping that day. It was really moving and they stayed writing with us for ages!
On the final day, we even had a little dog called “missy” join us with a family of eight who wrote poems and we held a mini poetry slam and competitions, although shy at first by the end of the workshop they were loving life in the shed!
Our workshops were framed by our gorgeous “Poetree” at the end of the sessions, we’d give people the opportunity to write their best lines on little green leaves and pin them to the branches.
Old folk sat out the front in the sun while little people chilled out on the cushions, the sense of community was amazing.
The Poetry Potting Shed is part of SPOKE: Air, a wider programme of events to promote poetry and spoken word across East London.
SPOKE is a partnership project between A New Direction, Apples and Snakes, Spread the Word, SWEP (Spoken Word Educators Programme), and Discover Children’s Story Centre. Commissioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation as part of their legacy activities in and around the newly reopened Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.