Yew Tree Press of Stroud

Throwing Clay

Poetry Workshops

January - March 2021

A Joint Venture beween Dialect and Yew Tree Press

A series of online poetry workshops [via Zoom] for 2021 with JLM Morton and Philip Rush

Tuesday / Wednesday evenings 7pm - 9pm


If you are familiar with the Marches Pottery in Ludlow you may agree that it is the home of wonderful ceramics. They are earth colours and confidently shaped in simple designs. In the front room, which is lit by a large shop window, there are shelves and display cabinets and the wares are there to be looked at closely and even handled. Behind, and divided from the showroom by a glazed partition, is the studio or workshop where the master potter or one of his apprentices can be seen working with raw clay and perhaps firing up the kiln.

When we attend poetry workshops we probably can guess what we are going to get, but we may be wrong. Some ‘workshops’ focus on prompting us to think about new poems, make notes about ideas we hadn’t realised we’d had, reconsider memories we’d dismissed or forgotten, amalgamate ideas with sensations to create new experiences from scratch. In such workshops, we are handling raw clay and it would be unreasonable to expect, at the end of such a workshop, to open the kiln door and reveal fired work, beautifully glazed, and ready to cool and put for sale.

Another kind of workshop asks us to read out our work. We may have brought along something we are proud of, a new jug or a bowl which is perfectly fashioned, but it may be more fun to bring along an experimental piece we’re not sure of, a new design for a cup we hope to sell in dozens, to see what people think.

We’re planning to offer a series of online workshops to take place on the evening of the second Tuesday of each month, firstly in a block of three, January, February and March 2021. These will be workshops. You will be offered raw clay, and also look at some pottery by established potters such as Richard Murphy, Daisy Zamora and Sylvia Plath. Something in their work may spark off new ideas for us which we can go away and refine, rediscover and write up.

Alongside this series of workshops we plan to offer a series of online showrooms to take place on the fourth Wednesday of each month, a fortnight after the workshop. By then you may have nearly finished a poem prompted at the previous workshop, or you may bring along a poem which you have written quite separately. You will be expected to read your poem to the group and to listen to the observations they will make; you will in turn be invited to comment on the work of others. To help you do so without feeling that this is some kind of viva vice examination, you’ll get the set of poems to be discussed at some time during the previous weekend. This means you’ll be invited to send in your own poem at that time to Showroom HQ from where it will be shared.

We are hoping to be able to invite from time to time guest poets to lead or contribute to some of the workshops and some of the showroom sessions.

The programme for the first three months is outlined below, although it will be confirmed in a little more detail once we have had some responses.



[All workshops will run on Zoom 7pm - 9pm]

Tuesday 12th January Workshop: Spots of Time
‘A History in 100 Objects’
Poetry by Richard Murphy, Daisy Zamora and others.

Wednesday 27th January

Tuesday 9th February Workshop: Imbolc
Light in darkness and the dawn of Spring
Poetry by Sylvia Plath, Lupe Mendez, Sharon Olds and others.

Wednesday 24th February

Tuesday 9th March Workshop: Famine and Glut
Feast and Fast
Books by Bridget Ann Henisch & Caroline Bynum (extracts)
Poems by Amy Beeder, Seamus Heaney, Julie Maclean and others.

Wednesday 24th March


You can find out about Ludlow's Marches Pottery here.




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