As sunrise in winter : art as deep playfulness beyond trauma.
Many of us who have witnessed or experienced trauma know that the ability to play is one of the first things that can be lost. But in both humans and animals, play and playfulness are integral to our being meaningfully alive. And their re-emergence is inherent to regeneration and recovery. The making, and also receiving of artforms, from music and visual arts to written and performed words, is also a deep form of play, because requiring an open and stable focus in order to take place.
As part of my project to support people working with difficult subjects, and create agency and safety for readers and writers engaging with ‘dangerous’ materials, I’ve created a series of podcasts and essays exploring art as a deep and transformative form of playfulness. Each one looks at a different theme as realised in an individual poem from bird of winter, and ends with an optional prompt for people looking to investigate this topic in new work they are making. The prompts can equally be used for prose and creative non-fiction as they are concerned with connecting to the deep energies from which creative work arises rather than the forms into which they are realised.
Separately, I am also recording some of my short online performances as audio tracks. Each one explores a single theme through a sequence of poems, which I introduce and talk about between reading the poems to suggest how art and life speak to and with each other. I’ve divided them into two groups below with clickable links taking you through to the podcasts and essays.
As a bonus, here’s the link to a video of Forwards Best Collection Winner Luke Kennard and me being interviewed by Anthony Anaxagarou for the Poetry Book Society Insta Club.
Podcasts with free prompts
bird of winter podcast no 1: finding words for things we find difficult to say:
bird of winter podcast no 2 : the poem as miniature tornado
Podcasts of themed performances from bird of winter:
Performance podcast no 1: strength in adversity: What We Read Now.
Captioned Youtube Video of ‘What We Read Now: Strength’
Captioned Youtube Video of bird of winter launch Pavilion Poetry. Please scroll down to Wednesday 5 May Pavilion Launch and my reading starts at 33.40.
Podcast performance no 2: bird of winter launch May 21 Pavilion Poetry
Podcast performance no 3: Neptune’s Glitter House: Reclaiming Bi-Queer Adolescence Beyond Abuse.
Performance podcast no 4: ‘this happened during winter’ erasure poems Chener Books September 21.
Performance podcast no 5: poetry as healing beyond trauma – Poetry in Aldeburgh 2021.
Please be aware that the podcasts respond to my experience of being sexually abused in childhood, and may be triggering for some people. I have tried to handle the material as safely as possible. If you need support with this topic, the Mind website has valuable links. If you need to see a text copy of the performance podcasts for accessibility please contact me through the Contact box to request this.