Rich Words at Richmond Barracks
Poet Enda Wyley writes about the work produced in writing classes she facilitated as part of the Culture Connects programme at Richmond Barracks, which were initiated and supported by Dublin City Council Culture Company.
I was delighted to have been invited by Dublin City Council Culture Company to facilitate a total of ten poetry and writing classes as ‘taster sessions,’ for emerging writers and poets from January — April 2020 at Richmond Barracks.
From the very beginning the group that arrived to take part were hugely committed to writing, to sharing their work, and to encountering work by established writers. This enthusiasm continued on a weekly basis and I was delighted to watch everyone involved gain in confidence in the reading aloud of their new writing to the group. There was always an enormously feel-good atmosphere in these sessions, as we celebrated the work of each member and also the work of published poets and writers.
Like all good writers, everyone made great use of their notebooks (kindly provided by Dublin City Council Culture Company) and the group actively took notes in these writer journals, recorded details they found useful to their development as writers, and wrote new poems and prose work inspired by weekly prompts I gave them. All of the sessions proved to be happy, encouraging and creative, and everyone was really pleased to have such a wonderful space in Richmond Barracks to meet on a weekly basis and hold our writing classes.
The work produced was often inspired by poets we read or listened to from audio files I played for them from my laptop. We listened to and read poems by poets like Simon Armitage, Paula Meehan, Charles Causley, Peter Sirr, Stephen James Smith, Anna Akhmatova, Vona Groarke, Mark Roper. But new poems from the group themselves also grew from memories of their past, loved family members, places that held special meaning, and other themes. We came to recognise that every person in the group had their own unique writing voice that was waiting to be released onto the page. And what better place to do this than in a supportive writing group such as that which was initiated, grew and developed over ten sessions at Richmond Barracks, thanks to Dublin City Council Culture Company.
Even in Lockdown, the writings still came through, and the group were happy to respond online to writing creative ideas I sent them and to forward their new writing to me by email.
It has been an absolute pleasure to work with this gifted group of writers and to be so inspired by their imagination, their inspiring writing and their determination to embrace the world that writing has to offer. The Australian poet Les Murray said:
I hope you enjoy this selection of poems from the writing group that I feel lucky to have worked with. This is poetry that encompasses everything Les Murray describes. And yes, you can really feel it in your muscles too!
Poems from the Writing Class
Virus by Áine Hayward.
A Visit to Kilronan by Helen Dredge.
Three Poems by M.J. O’Brien.
De Massey by Iben Bulow.
The Nature of Dublin City by Sinéad Harrison.
The Journey by Diana Flaherty.
Waves on the Sand by Norman McCormick.
Memories of Trøjborg by Hejsa Iben.
HELLO FROM ALL OF US IN THE ZOO by Annie Losty Byrne.
Work Place by Robert Cullen.
Enigma Grafton Street by Helen Goodman.
Enda Wyley is a poet and teacher and member of Aosdána. She published six books of poetry with Dedalus press, most recently The Painter on his Bike, 2019. She has won many awards for her work and her poetry has been widely broadcast, anthologised and translated.
Enda has facilitated writing class ‘taster sessions,’ for Dublin City Council Culture Company, January – April 2020, at Richmond Barracks. She has also worked as a poet for The National Neighbourhood Project, 2018, Dublin City Council Culture Company.