We introduce today a guest blog from different people whose experiences, thoughts and opinions we think you might be interested in – for example, book group members and facilitators, library staff, and so on. The guest blog will appear every Friday from now on, inspiration allowing…
I’m kicking off with a description of what happens in our Poetry Discussion Group. Hopefully, this will encourage others to come along to future meetings. The group meets in the Literature Centre on Level 5 of The Mitchell between 6.00 and 7.00pm on the first Thursday of every month. We start by distributing printed copies of the first of two poems. We always have two poems which, due to the length of the meeting, tend to be shortish rather than epics. The poems are always linked in a loose way by some theme, topical or seasonal reference, or random whim… The choice of poems is not announced until the meeting, so no preparation is necessary. The poets are a mixture of popular and less well-known. Recent choices have included Owen Sheers, Walt Whitman, Stevie Smith, W.H. Auden, William Carlos Williams, Philip Larkin, Anne Ridley, Austin Kleon and Gil Scott-Heron.
We ask the group members to familiarise themselves with the poem by reading it to themselves. When everyone is ready, we ask for a volunteer to read the poem aloud. Then, we discuss the poem. The discussion is loosely structured and informal – we might, for example, respond to the mood of the poem, talk about the language, the symbolism and rhythm used. There is often slight disagreement about the meaning or quality of a poem, but that just adds to the fun of the proceedings! We will also read out a short biography of the poet for background information. This process is repeated for the second poem. Then, just for fun, we mark each poem out of ten according to how much we enjoyed it, work out an average score for each poem, and announce a favourite for the meeting.
Prior to Glasgow Libraries’ annual Aye Write! Book Festival, the Poetry Discussion Group usually looks at the work of poets who’ll be attending. Also, Glasgow Libraries organises events as part of National Poetry Day celebrations, for a poet launching a book, for example – on these occasions, the group often has the opportunity to take a look at samples of the poems in advance of publication.
The Poetry Discussion Group is run on a drop-in basis, so you can choose to come along whenever you feel like it without there being a requirement to attend every month. Having said that, we are always glad to have a good turnout, so we look forward to seeing you at the next meeting.
Look out for next Friday’s guest blog and, by the way, if you’d like to contribute something as a guest blogger, you can find our contact details on the Contact Us tab.