Youth in Lockdown

 

Oxfordshire Discovery College are working in partnership with Oxford Poetry Library and Open House Oxford on our Oxford is my Home project to provide a space for young people (age 13-25) to share their experiences of lockdown through creativity. We’re producing a digital zine of visual arts and creative writing by young people across the county called Youth in Lockdown, so that their voices can be heard.

To find out how to get involved, submit and get more info about the project, check our FAQs here:

https://oxfordshirediscoverycollege.wordpress.com/2020/05/19/youth-in-lockdown-get-involved/

 

From Someone Else’s Point of View

The deadline for the third issue of our zine ‘Oxford is My Home’ is 11 May! You have ONE MORE DAY to get your stories, poems, and images to us, so to help you on your way, we are putting out a prompt a day to get your creative juices flowing. Click here for more information about the zine and submitting your work to us

Next up…

From Someone Else’s Point of View

We’re spending a lot of time in our own heads at the moment, and in the same spaces and the same rooms. Why not try to get into the perspective of something you see every day? It can be a pet, an object in your bedroom, a piece of furniture, a houseplant, a book, a piece of clothing, a robin which comes to your garden every day…

Try to imagine what the lockdown feels like from that thing/creature’s point of view. Write a poem or story as if you were that object or animal. What will they be feeling, sensing, seeing? How do they see you? How different is their experience of the lockdown to yours?

What happened today?

The deadline for the third issue of our zine ‘Oxford is My Home’ is 11 May! You have less than a week to get your stories, poems, and images to us, so to help you on your way, we are putting out a prompt a day to get your creative juices flowing. Click here for more information about the zine and submitting your work to us

Next up…

What happened today?

Start with the phrase ‘What happened today?’ and then keep writing non-stop for 3 minutes. Don’t think too hard about what you write because this is just to get started and see where your mind takes you. You don’t even need to try and make it like a poem. The only aim is to keep writing for the full 3 minutes.

Look back at what you wrote. Find one word, sentence or phrase that you particularly like. Could this be a start of a poem?

Explore your chosen words. Are there other words which mean something similar or the opposite? Does this word rhyme with anything else? This will lead you to the next line.

Try using all 5 senses – smell, touch, taste, sight and sound to bring your poem to life.

Remember: there are really no rules to what make a good poem. They might rhyme or they might not. They might be long or short. The most important thing is to enjoy writing!

A How-To Poem

The deadline for the third issue of our zine ‘Oxford is My Home’ is 11 May! You have less than a week to get your stories, poems, and images to us, so to help you on your way, we are putting out a prompt a day to get your creative juices flowing. Click here for more information about the zine and submitting your work to us

Next up…

A How-To Poem

This is a poem in the form of an instruction manual, recipe, or any kind of directions. Whatever the format is, you must explain how to do something.

Though this is a simple form, this leaves lots of room to play with it. You could:

  • Write instructions to something unusual or fantastical (an example is ‘Instructions’ by Neil Gaiman)
  • Write a recipe for making something abstract – like freedom, love, or trust
  • Be ironic – write instructions which are the opposite of what people should do
  • Mix it up – try writing out a list of instructions for one thing (e.g. pruning roses) and then use those instructions for a ‘how to’ poem about something completely different (e.g. having an argument)

 

Here’s some examples to get you started:

‘Please do not feed the animals…’ by Robert Hull

‘One Art’ by Elizabeth Bishop

Write an Ode

The deadline for the third issue of our zine ‘Oxford is My Home’ is 11 May! You have less than a week to get your stories, poems, and images to us, so to help you on your way, we are putting out a prompt a day to get your creative juices flowing. Click here for more information about the zine and submitting your work to us

Next up…

 

Write an Ode

An ode is a poem where you celebrate something ordinary. By writing an ode you’re challenging yourself to spend some time thinking about all the aspects of an object which make it special to you, and which we normally might overlook. Odes can be funny, serious, joyful, or nostalgic but the main aim is to bring your chosen object to life through celebrating it – make the ordinary extraordinary!

Here are some tips for writing your ode:

Pick an ordinary place or thing.

Give your subject praise or thanks. (Oh, _____________!)  Speak directly to the object.

Spend time deeply thinking about your object. Try starting by writing down everything of note without worrying how it might be a poem (you could even try a mind map). Then go back to pick out the most striking thoughts and shape them into a poem.

What does it mean to you? You might find that you associate this object with certain memories & preoccupations, or it may start you thinking about larger, abstract themes.

Try using verbs to bring your object to life. Think about what personality your object would have if it was person – how would it move or speak or think?

Want some more inspiration before getting started? Have a read of these modern ode examples:

‘Ode to My Socks’ by Pablo Neruda

‘Ode to Shea Butter’ by Angel Nafis

‘Home Movies: A Sort of Ode’ by Mary Jo Salter

The Golden Shovel

The deadline for the third issue of our zine ‘Oxford is My Home’ is 11 May! You have less than a week to get your stories, poems, and images to us, so to help you on your way, we are putting out a prompt a day to get your creative juices flowing. Click here for more information about the zine and submitting your work to us

Next up…

 

The Golden Shovel

Today we invite you to try writing a ‘Golden Shovel’ poem. This is a type of poetic form invented by Terrance Hayes in 2010, which inspired many poets to write their own. It’s a simple idea but challenging and fun to do.

Here is how to write a Golden Shovel:

  1. Take a line (or lines) from a poem or book you admire, or even from a news article.
  2. Use each word in the line (or lines) as an end word in your poem.
  3. Keep the end words in order.
  4. Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).

That’s it! The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words. If you pull a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long. If you pull a stanza with 24 words, your poem would be 24 lines long. And so on.

Want to see how it looks: read these two poems to see how Terrance Hayes used a Gwendolyn Brooks poem to write the first golden shovel:

We Real Cool, by Gwendolyn Brooks (original poem)

The Golden Shovel, by Terrance Hayes (golden shovel poem)

As you can see, the original golden shovel takes more than a line from the poem. In fact, it pulls every word from the Brooks poem, and it does it twice! Have fun!

A Strange Conversation

 

The deadline for the third issue of our zine ‘Oxford is My Home’ is 11 May! You have less than a week to get your stories, poems, and images to us, so to help you on your way, we are putting out a prompt a day to get your creative juices flowing. Click here for more information about the zine and submitting your work to us

Next up…

A Strange Conversation

For strange times, why not try a nonsense poem. Imagine you were interviewing a stranger about what it is like to live in self-isolation. Write down all the questions you might like to ask them. Then answer them yourself!

  1. Write down a list of 8 questions which you could ask someone to understand their experience of lockdown (we have some ideas to start you off).
  2. Answer each questions using exactly 8 words. If you fancy more of a challenge, rhyme your answers with an A, B, A, B, C, D, C, D structure.
  3. Now mix up each question with a different answer from your list.
  4. You can also try a different version where you remove all of the questions, and shape your poem just from the answers.

If you are with someone else you can also try this version.

  1. Each person writes the 8 questions they would like to ask.
  2. Swap your pages and answer the other person’s question using exactly 8 words.
  3. Then mix all the questions and answers up to create two zany poems.

Until we emerge from lockdown

The deadline for the third issue of our zine ‘Oxford is My Home’ is 11 May! You have less than a week to get your stories, poems, and images to us, so to help you on your way, we are putting out a prompt a day to get your creative juices flowing. Click here for more information about the zine and submitting your work to us…

First up:

 

‘Until We Emerge From The Lockdown’

Start a poem with the line ‘Until we emerge from the lockdown’ and see where your thoughts take you.

  1. Write continuously for at least 5 minutes to give time for lots of ideas to flow out. Don’t worry if what you write isn’t perfect because you’ll prune it afterwards. Just keep writing!
  2. When you are finished, go back and highlight 5 to 10 of the most interesting lines, words or images.
  3. Try cutting these out so you can rearrange them physically. You might want to add some more lines to bring it to life.
  4. Your end poem should be any length and can rhyme or not rhyme. The only rule is that the starting line should still be ‘Until we emerge from the lockdown’. This way, your poem will sit alongside all the other poems which started from the same line – but where will they end up?

Oxford is my Home – The Quaranzine Edition: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

The Covid-19 Quaranzine: Stories of ‘Home’ from Behind Closed Doors

 

As a result of Covid-19, our homes have transformed. Bedrooms have become offices, living rooms have become classrooms, gardens have become gyms, and every house has become a cage of sorts.

Some people without a home have found one whilst others have been evicted, and many, many people live with the uncertainty of not being able to afford to keep theirs.

‘Oxford is My Home’ is a zine produced by Oxford Poetry Library and Open House which uses words and pictures to tell the hidden stories of housing and homelessness in Oxford and what it means to call this city ‘home’.

For our third issue, we want to know what #StayatHome looks like for you? How are you spending your days? Who are you with? Are you enjoying yourself? What are you worried about? What do you miss about being able to leave your home?

Submissions are now OPEN for contributions to the zine. You can submit poems, stories, pictures, comic strips, or any other creative reflection which you can figure out a way of getting to us.

You can:

– Email us at oxfordismyhomezine@gmail.com

–  Ring us on 0800 0096754 and leave a message and we’ll transcribe your story or poem

– Post your creations to Oxford is My Home, Makespace Oxford, 1 Aristotle Lane, OX2 6TP

The deadline is 11 May.

Please keep written submissions within 500 words. For any questions contact oxfordismyhomezine@gmail.com

 

Stuck for inspiration? Why not try one of these easy exercises alone, or with others to get your creative juices flowing!

 

Writing a Poem

Start with the phrase ‘What happened today?’ and then keep writing non-stop for 3 minutes. Don’t think too hard about what you write because this is just to get started and see where your mind takes you. You don’t even need to try and make it like a poem. The only aim is to keep writing for the full 3 minutes.

Look back at what you wrote. Find one word, sentence or phrase that you particularly like. Could this be a start of a poem?

Explore your chosen words. Are there other words which mean something similar or the opposite? Does this word rhyme with anything else? This will lead you to the next line.

Try using all 5 senses – smell, touch, taste, sight and sound to bring your poem to life.

Remember: there are really no rules to what make a good poem. They might rhyme or they might not. They might be long or short. The most important thing is to enjoy writing!

 

Short Stories

Think about the experiences you have had when living in isolation – was there something funny, upsetting, uplifting or unexpected which happened to you?

Stories also allow us to explore alternative realities. Perhaps you would like to change what happened in real-life. Ask yourself ‘what else could have happened’ or ‘wouldn’t it be funny if’ and see if this changes where your story goes.

You can also try making up a character. What if your experience happened to someone completely different? Maybe they are a different age to you, a unique job, or have a personality flaw. What would they do differently in this situation?

A story only needs three things – a beginning, a middle, and an ending. What would be a good place to start and to end your story?

 

Life-Writing

This is where you simply write about what you are experiencing in your life now. These ideas might help to get started:

  • Write a letter to your future self – what would you like them to remember about what is happening right now?
  • Write a letter to an alien – imagine you are describing your situation to someone who has no knowledge of what is happening on Earth today

Interview Yourself. Imagine you were interviewing a stranger about what it is like to live in self-isolation. Write down all the questions you might like to ask them. Then answer them yourself!