I know some folk don’t like workshops, but I usually enjoy taking part, and goodness knows I’ve led a fair few in my time. Anyway, the Dunbar Writers’ Group did some fund-raising, and we were fortunate to be awarded two workshops through the Live Literature Scotland programme of the Scottish Book Trust, whereby we pay half the standard fee, and the SBT pays the rest. A fortnight ago we welcomed the poet Christine de Luca to Dunbar, and tonight we’re lucky to have Diana Hendry coming to lead a workshop on fiction writing. Group members tend to write both fiction and poetry, so it’s good to have that balance.
I’ve got two final Poet Partner events in Moray coming up. They’ll involve working with people with mental health issues. I’m wary of concepts like ‘poetry as therapy’, because that’s not how I approach groups like this. It’s really about exploring how people respond to different forms and subjects in poetry, and how poetry can sometimes shine a light on difficult areas of experience. It calls for quick thinking, sensitivity and empathy.