Creative collaborations in poetry

POETRY, ART AND SHONTINESS: Mavis Whitehead reads a poem about matariki that was composed collaboratively by Lowe Street Community Centre as part of the 1000 words poetry project.

THE “more than 1000 words” poetry project run through the Lowe Street Community Centre culminated last week when centre regulars read their work and displayed art work based around their poems.

The centre provides a supportive environment and confidence-building skills for adults with personal challenges. Led by Gisborne street poet Robyn Hancock, and facilitated by Lowe Street Community Centre service manager Angela Hill, the 1000 word project involved a “word harvest” of poetry written by centre regulars.

“Each poem was a group effort,” says Hill. “Each Monday we ran a workshop where they created poems collaboratively.”

Hancock collated and chalked out the poems on city centre footpaths.

In the meantime, the community centre’s poets produced artwork in response to their work.

The poems are largely written in rhyming verse and touch on themes of friendship, animals, beach life and matariki celebrations.

Among the group’s favourites was the collective work A Horse Called Monty.

There was once a horse called Monty.
He was tame and friendly and shonty.
He eats carrots and apples and hay for dinner.
And trains for races, because he’s just a beginner.
He’s been ridden on roads and the beaches.
Training hard, so one day he’ll be a winner.

He jumps all day, over railings and fences,
When he walks in the park, he hops over benches.
His owner is called Dastardly Dave.
Who’s handsome and tall and always brave.
Sometimes he gets to go for a ride.
Running and galloping in the ocean’s tide.

“Just like Shakespeare!” says Hancock of the neologism shonty.

“Making up new words.”

THE “more than 1000 words” poetry project run through the Lowe Street Community Centre culminated last week when centre regulars read their work and displayed art work based around their poems.

The centre provides a supportive environment and confidence-building skills for adults with personal challenges. Led by Gisborne street poet Robyn Hancock, and facilitated by Lowe Street Community Centre service manager Angela Hill, the 1000 word project involved a “word harvest” of poetry written by centre regulars.

“Each poem was a group effort,” says Hill. “Each Monday we ran a workshop where they created poems collaboratively.”

Hancock collated and chalked out the poems on city centre footpaths.

In the meantime, the community centre’s poets produced artwork in response to their work.

The poems are largely written in rhyming verse and touch on themes of friendship, animals, beach life and matariki celebrations.

Among the group’s favourites was the collective work A Horse Called Monty.

There was once a horse called Monty.
He was tame and friendly and shonty.
He eats carrots and apples and hay for dinner.
And trains for races, because he’s just a beginner.
He’s been ridden on roads and the beaches.
Training hard, so one day he’ll be a winner.

He jumps all day, over railings and fences,
When he walks in the park, he hops over benches.
His owner is called Dastardly Dave.
Who’s handsome and tall and always brave.
Sometimes he gets to go for a ride.
Running and galloping in the ocean’s tide.

“Just like Shakespeare!” says Hancock of the neologism shonty.

“Making up new words.”

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