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So the other writing course I’m now halfway through is a monthly Advanced Poetry Feedback Workshop facilitated by Cath Drake via Zoom.

Image courtesy of Cath Drake

Originally from Australia, Cath is based in London and has been widely published. Sleeping with Rivers won the 2013 Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Prize and The Shaking City from Seren Books was commended by the Forward Prizes for Poetry in 2020. Both are brilliant reads.

Cath runs two of these workshops over 6 months and it’s an intimate group of six poets; three from Australia and three from the UK. We submit a poem for feedback and Cath shares a contemporary one for discussion, as well as a prompt for next time. And the format is effective – someone volunteers to read the poem, we hear it from the poet who then mutes themselves while we discuss what works and what doesn’t, returning to the poet for their thoughts at the end.

Let’s make a good poem better!

This is Cath’s motto and her comments are perceptive and intuitive, encouraging us to review form, line breaks, syntax and meaning. The three poems I’ve submitted so far have been improved going through this process, two of which will be included in my next collection about my breast cancer experience. Cath is also organising readings later this year as part of the Where are we now? series, exploring connections to people and place, when we’ll get to read what we’ve written alongside some big names. This I’m looking forward to.

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