Kim Moore – Picture the Poet in Carlisle

Poet Kim Moore tells us about the inspirational work of Dove Cottage Young Poets as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s Picture the Poet exhibition in Carlisle…

When Apples and Snakes got in touch to ask if I’d be interested in running some workshops around the Picture the Poet exhibition, I was really excited, and even more excited about the opportunity to run the workshops with the Dove Cottage Young Poets, a group of young writers that I’ve been working with for the last couple of years.

Society of Authors Awards June 2011 Kim Moore  Eric Gregory AwardsDove Cottage Young Poets are intelligent, politically engaged, feisty, funny and incredibly supportive of each other. The group is made up of seven 15-18 year old girls, from various schools, sixth forms and colleges in Kendal and the surrounding area. They are very committed to their writing, and enjoy sharing their work with each other, but most had not had the chance to perform their work to an audience, so the project came at a perfect time, and gave the group a goal to work towards to push their writing to another level.

The theme of the project was Identity and our explorations of what this means to young women today led to writing about feminism, casual sexism and the patriarchy. They wrote poems about politics and refugees and what it means to vote, about family and relationships and school.

Having the goal of a performance to work towards did change the group. They became more focused and committed to their writing.  They went from having poems floating around on scraps of paper and possibly getting lost or mislaid, to typing poems up and bringing them in the following week for feedback.

They started to think about how to present their work to an audience – about which poems need an introduction, and which need to stand on their own. We watched videos of poets and talked about the different ways to present your own work.

Picture-the-Poet_NEW-BANNERSome of the group were very nervous about performing but once we got to the venue, the atmosphere was so friendly and supportive, they seemed to forget their nerves and were cracking jokes with the audience in between their poems!

Going forward, The Wordsworth Trust will continue to fund workshops with the Dove Cottage Young Poets once a fortnight.  With their new-found confidence from the Picture the Poet project, the girls will be performing at the first Kendal Poetry Festival in June, alongside invited guest poets and hosting their own open mic session at the festival.

Many thanks to Apples and Snakes for inviting me to take part in the project and all the partners involved, for giving Dove Cottage Young Poets the opportunity to be involved and to perform at the exhibition.

Kim’s first collection The Art of Falling was published by Seren in 2015.  A poem from the book was short-listed for The Forward Prize.  She won a Northern Promise Award in 2014 and plays trumpet in a ten-piece soul band. Find out more about Kim’s work on her website, or follow her on Twitter.

Inspired by the project? Join us for the Picture the Poet Conference at the National Portrait Gallery on the 25th April, and find out how galleries, museums and libraries can support creative writing and literacy for young people in schools and in the community. Book Now…