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!

The Lost Words at Hill End

Our workshops at Flo’s Place in the Park are quickly booking up! Missed out? Want to see what these workshops are all about? We are bringing our Lost Words workshop to Hill End on March 14th!

 

We are running a family workshop inspired by The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. Macfarlane and Morris created this spellbinding collection in response to the 2007 edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary which introduced new words such as “broadband” and “blog” while words relating to the natural world (acorn, wren, otter, willow, to name a few) were lost. The dictionary, reflecting the frequency of words in the daily language of children, threw into undeniable relief the idea that children are losing touch with nature. Enter ‘The Lost Words’. This is a magical collection of acrostic poems by Macfarlane, gorgeously illustrated by Morris, which re-conjures these words, brings them back to our hearts and minds, and helps children to discover the natural world around them.

 

During this special one-off workshop for families (suitable for kids aged 7+) we aim to conjure this spirit in the beautiful grounds of Hill End! After a chat about the kind of creatures, creepy-crawlies, and all manner of living things we might be seeing (and a bit of binocular training!), we head out into Hill End to explore. Local nature expert, Nick Boyd, will lead the walk, teaching participants how to look and listen and notice the living world around us. We then return to the centre to create our own Lost Words-inspired poetry with the help of poet Phoebe Nicholson.

 

14 March 2020 10am-1pm, suitable for age 7+

Cost £6/10 adults, £3/5 children (Friends of Hill End/others) capped at £18/30 per family.

Booking essential.

Please note that this session is run by the Friends of Hill End – for bookings and all other enquiries, please contact them directly at: friendsofhillend@gmail.com

 

Announcing: The Lost Words Workshops!

In collaboration with  Flo’s Place in the Park, and made possible by the generosity of the Midcounties Co-operative and Community Action Groups, we are producing a series of workshops for kids inspired by The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.

Macfarlane and Morris created this spellbinding collection in response to the 2007 edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary which introduced new words such as “broadband” and “blog” while words relating to the natural world (acorn, wren, otter, willow, to name a few) were lost. The dictionary, reflecting the frequency of words in the daily language of children, threw into undeniable relief the idea that children are losing touch with nature. Enter ‘The Lost Words’. This is a magical collection of acrostic poems by Macfarlane, gorgeously illustrated by Morris, which re-conjures these words, brings them back to our hearts and minds, and helps children to discover the natural world around them.

During five workshops run throughout 2020, we aim to conjure this spirit in our very own Florence Park! The Lost Words sessions run at Flo’s Place in the Park for 7-14 year olds, the community hub in the heart of the park. After a chat about the kind of creatures, creepy-crawlies, and all manner of living things we might be seeing (and a bit of binocular training!), we head out in the park to explore. Local nature experts will lead the walks, teaching participants how to look and listen and notice the living world around us. We then return to Flo’s to create our own Lost Words-inspired poetry with the help of poet Phoebe Nicholson.

Sessions are free and open to any kids who are 7-14 years old. Sessions are booked separately, and kids can go to one, a few, or all of the workshops, as they prefer. Each session will have a different theme from nature, and feature a local nature expert to guide the walk and chat about their area of expertise:

All sessions run from 9.30am til 12.30 noon at Flo’s Place in the Park. On 6 June there will be a 3-hour drop-in workshop where we will bring together all of the poetry and art we’ve created over the four previous sessions, plus create some more! We will then put it all together to create a zine which will be available for free to all contributors.

Sessions are free but registration is required. To book for any of the sessions, register here,or to find out more information, please email oxfordpoetrylibrary@gmail.com

Lightbox: Writing about Light

Lightbox poster flyer.jpg

Join Oxford Poetry Library and LIT Reading Group on February 1 2020 for an evening of creative writing and music on the subject of light in its many forms, from daylight and firelight to enlightenment and revelation, as well as some light relief. We will be escaping the midwinter dark with original poetry and prose from LIT Reading Group.

There will also be an open mic element to the evening so please do bring along your own work, or the work of writers you admire, about light! Slots will be 2 minutes long and sign-up will be on the door on arrival.

This event is open to all!

Doors open 7:30pm for 8pm start.

This event is in the Lounge at the East Oxford Community Centre which is on the ground floor.

Street parking available nearby. More information about the LIT Reading Group and accessibility details about the building can be found here

Tickets are £5 and are available online here or on the door.

 

Oxford is my Home: Issue 2 Launch!

 

A few weeks ago, we collaborated with Open House Oxford in their last month of opening to put together the second issue of our amazing Oxford is my Home zine. We wanted to capture and give voice to the diverse experiences of finding, building and maybe even losing a home in Oxford.

Over the space of one day, we opened up the doors of Open House and invited anyone – whether new to the city, born-and-bred, or anywhere in between – to come and share their stories of making this city their home through poetry, collage, story-telling, art, rants and raves. We then collected them all together, bound them into a little booklet, and we are now ready to share the wonderful, weird, heart-breaking, insightful, creative, and thought-provoking result with you all!

Available for a mere £5 at any of our market appearances (where you can also pick up issue 1!)

Oxford is my Home: ISSUE 2

zine number 2-page-001

 

Do you call Oxford your home? And what does the word ‘home’ mean to you?

We want to give voice to the diverse experiences of finding, building and maybe even losing a home in Oxford in the 2nd issue of a new community zine called ‘Oxford is my home’, which we are creating together with Open House.

Whether you’re new to the city, born-and-bred, or anywhere in between you’re invited to join together on 19th October at Open House on Little Clarendon St. Come by any time between 10am and 4pm to collaborate and create art, opinions, poetry, and stories around this complex and vital topic. The event is free and open to all.

Why? Many people come into Open House and ask us the same questions; ‘how can we solve homelessness? How can we build more affordable housing? Is anyone doing anything!?’ We think the answer lies in talking to each other. Oxford is full of people who are experts by lived-experience of how our housing system is failing and we won’t understand how to fix the sticky situation we’ve got ourselves into until we start listening to them.

Copies of the original issue of ‘Oxford is my home’ can be found at the Oxford Poetry Library at any of their local market appearances. You can see where our big purple bike of books will be next at oxfordpoetrylibrary.wordpress.com.

Want to get involved but can’t make the date? Contact us on hello@openhouseoxford.org or oxfordpoetrylibrary@gmail.com