Bealach : Word Pool poetry and sculpture workshops for schools

These writing sessions for schools draw on the word-pool gathered by the Bealach project, when people on the island were asked to submit three words that sum up for them what living here means.  Pupils will use the word-pool as the starting point for their own writing, and will be guided towards creating short poems in a variety of forms.

Thig a’  steach:  writing in two languages : Using the Gaelic words in the Bealach list (bealach, biadh, dachaigh, fasgadh, sonas, uisgè), we’ll discuss how their meanings and associations might differ from equivalent words in English, and use them as starting points for writing short poems, such as acrostic poems, mesostic poems.

Randomised : Words are grouped as adjectives, nouns and place-names and ‘dealt’ like playing cards to generate poems. Eg: a three-line poem, with each line containing one of three randomly dealt words; a poem in which the words appear in alphabetical order; a poem using one of the three words as the title of the poem, one as the first word, and one the last etc

Fortune Tellers : Pupils will make origami ‘fortune tellers’ with selected words to generate a poem.

Circle Poems : Pupils will write circle poems can begin at more than one point, and which can be read continuously.

The children can select one of their short poems to present in a sculptural form.   This could be as tablet poems laid out in grid form, without spaces between words, and drawn or printed.  Or wooden, cardboard or polystyrene blocks could be built into sculptures.

Sessions are suitable for upper primary and lower secondary school pupils.  The writing workshop will last for two parts of the day (either side of morning break, or either side of lunch).  A sculpture workshop will be held a few weeks later.  The duration will depend on the materials selected by the children at the first session, but may be approximately another full morning or afternoon.

Ken Cockburn is a poet, translator, editor and writing tutor based in Edinburgh, who works regularly with schools. In 2010 he ran workshops for schools in Lewis and Harris as part of the exhibition at An Lanntair, Ian Hamilton Finlay: Sailing Dinghy.

Writing workshops are available w/c 13th November followed up by a sculpture workshop 2 – 3 weeks later.  Suitable for upper primary and lower secondary school pupils.  Free.  Contact Moira Macdonald on 01851 708493 or to book a workshop for your class.