It was an absolute joy to lead this workshop. Everyone wrote furiously, leapt with abandon from one new first draft to another...
Caroline Bird is stood at the back of the lounge in the East Oxford Community Centre opening and closing the fire door: “A dragon eating ice-cream!” she shouts. “Volcanoes in a teardrop!” With each shove of the heavy door, Caroline shouts a new dyad of imagery that sets the tone for a miraculous and muscular workshop on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
On February 10th 2018, Oxford Writers’ House were delighted to host Caroline for a workshop and reading bringing together emerging writers from across the city and county. Publishing her first poetry collection at 15, Caroline has gone on to publish books and plays that are famous for how their technical virtuosity frees their raw energy. Unsurprisingly, Caroline’s workshop was full of that balance of energy and knowledge. The workshop centred around getting poets to acknowledge a type of pain that was real and somehow central to their consciousness, using it as a productive anchor for their writing: “Holding it like a bubble without letting it burst.”
Through four very different but emotionally linked exercises, the range of creativity and inspiration in the room was outstanding and participants left with four very strong first drafts of new poems. For Tim Hewes from Farringdon the experience was ‘really exciting – liberating!’ and Caroline seemed equally pleased with the day, commenting:
It was an absolute joy to lead this workshop. Everyone wrote furiously, leapt with abandon from one new first draft to another... flung open new doors. Oxford Writer’s House knows exactly what a workshop is for... to gather likeminded poets together, create a hub for focused thought in a busy city and generate raw material in a friendly room—Go to them.
At the end of the afternoon, Caroline did an impassioned reading of her own work from her TS Eliot Prize nominated collection In These Days of Prohibition. This was not only a reading but a performance that truly embodied the ethos of what she always conveys to others: authenticity, strength and beauty through pain.