TY Poetry Workshop with Stephen Murray

On Wednesday the 10th of February Transition Year students were given the opportunity to attend a poetry workshop with Stephen Murray. Stephen is a multi-award winning poet from the West of Ireland. His critically acclaimed debut collection ‘House of Bees’ was published in 2011 and his second collection ‘On Corkscrew Hill’ will be released later this year. He is also director of Inspireland, bringing creative writing to secondary schools and colleges across Ireland and Britain.

Stephen began by explaining to us the prevalence of poetry among rappers, songwriters and freedom fighters and how poets are cool guys, not just the cliched image of boring, reclusive poets we may once have thought. We learned how poets usually write poems to convey a statement or prove a point. He asked us to participate in a number of activities so that he could get to know us and also to make us think creatively. These activities involved writing down statements expressing common human emotions such as love, hate and excitement. We also had to share our craziest experiences and favourite song lyrics. Then we were given the task of writing an eight line poem that would reveal something personal about each one of us. We found this really thought-provoking and refreshing as usually english class deals with the analysis of poetry, however Stephen was calling on us to envision our own creations and actually generate our own poetry, encouraging us to become writers ourselves.

Library 2 Library1In my opinion it was a very successful day – we were all suddenly very enthusiastic about poetry! We learned the truth about various poets on the English course and the secrets that influenced their writing. We were enlightened by the realisation that rappers, songwriters and freedom fighters are all different types of poets and were truly inspired by each other’s work. Stephen then took our poems and published them on his website Inspireland, you can click on the link below to view a selection of the poetry we created on that day. Thank you to Miss Aungier for organising such a worthwhile and enjoyable event.

Glenstal Abbey School, Murroe, Co. Limerick

By Andrew Walsh (TY)