Today was a lovely lovely workshop to finish off a mini-work-stay in Cardiff. I was invited by Literature Wales to work with year 9s at Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni in Blackwood as the class recently won the Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru Cipio’r Castell slam award. The winning poem, performed by four hugely talented young women, is a stunning feminist piece – great work! And nice one to their mentor and tutor Aneirin Karadog for inspiring such interesting poetry.
The group already had slam sessions with Nei and I’m not going to improve on that(!) so I took a newspaper blackout workshop. I’m interested in inspiring our young people to find their own story-within-a-story no matter how absurd, or subversive; encouraging them to examine the language used by our national newspapers so that they can begin shaping it to their own ends.
With the rise of Fake News and Wikileaks and redacted information I’m looking for ways to help our next generations feel in control of the information they interact with. So with this workshop I hope that the practical and tactile act of cutting up and defacing the newspapers will give them ideas about how to question, subvert and challenge language in a fun, irreverent way that allows their personalities and interests to emerge through the blacked out words.
The range of creations was impressive, from thoughtful pieces about abuse to irreverent lines challenging power structures in a way that wouldn’t be out of place in a Charlie Brooker or Private Eye column – which made me immensely happy.
This ‘post-news’ workshop is inspired by the #thirtydaysofBrexit sequence I created in the wake of the Brexit vote last year which can now be found in its entirety on Wales Arts Review.
Find some of the poems created from this workshop and more over on the poetlifewales Instagram account.