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14th September 2020

Challenging what a poem could be

By Johanna Featherstone

Image of Challenging what a poem could be

Lead Past/Present Pets poet Johanna Featherstone offers a poetic reflection of her experience creating poetry with Studio A artists, Damian, Lauren and Jaycee.

Working with the artists at Studio A introduced me to radical imaginations and courageous hearts that challenged what a poem could be and might mean to the reader and to the creator. The workshops that I facilitated had the starting point of pets and animals which could be interpreted as creatures in any form. Through brave conversations, drawings, writings and textiles, the Studio A artists wrote about living animals, those from the spirit realm, fluffy toys, ocean dwellers and woven mammals. To bring out the poems from inside our minds, we experimented with word games like automatic writing, frottage and rhyme bounces and we listened to the James Bond fanfare and lots of Annie! To expand our ideas of what a poem might be, we wrote and doodled and we looked at many visual artists, in particular Sol le Wit, Rosalie Gascoigne and Medieval texts. Art and text, textiles and paper all fused into one form to give birth to unexpected poems. I am indebted to Damian, Lauren and Jaycee for sharing with me how they see poetry. All our workshops were run using the intimate and intimidating Zoom which resulted in a new genre of poems that I like to call Zooetry-Zoems.