WRITING THE LABYRINTH Wed.19th July, 2017
Poetry Workshop with Beth Soule
One of Waveney & Blyth Arts first workshops of the season was the writing workshop led by Beth Soule on the Thornham estate near Eye. Back in June, with the help of the Thornham Walks volunteers, we had created a labyrinth in a grass meadow.
The day is best summed up by one of the participants – Sue Benbow – and a selection of writings will be shared in the next post.
“We all met at Thornham Walks, near Diss, to be greeted with cups of tea and a warm welcome from Beth. The classroom was light and airy, with plenty of table-top writing space for everyone.
Beth introduced what the day would be about, and we began to go through a marvelous handout-booklet, which she had prepared for us. We discussed the history and purpose of labyrinths; the story behind the rediscovery of labyrinths by Lauren Artress; and guidelines for walking labyrinths. We then visited the Legends of the Labyrinth through Greek myth. Beth bought to life the story of King Minos and Daedalus, the Minotaur, Pasiphae and Theseus, and Ariadne and the golden thread with a clear and easy-to-follow ‘grid of characters’ and story-telling skills! Participants were given the choice to write a piece of prose, or poetry, about one of the characters from the story which we read aloud later.
Examples of prayers, blessings and spells – collected and compiled in the handout booklet were read read aloud to inspire us followed by some of Beth’s poetry about The Labyrinth and Jorge Luis Borges poem of the same name. Participants were invited to write their own prayer, blessing or spell.
After a short break, and more tea, we went outside and walked the labyrinth. Followed by writing ‘what came out of the labyrinth?’ poems.
Beth presented some ‘finger labyrinths’ which participants chose to work with, according to personal preference. We were introduced to the concept of chakras and corresponding colours and journeys, on the labyrinth.
In order to ‘Write into the Labyrinth’ participants were asked to choose from a selection of visual aids and interesting artefacts, one each of the following:
a guide companion; a tool or talisman; a purpose for walking the labyrinth. We were given a ‘Labyrinth Map’ to write on and asked to write a poem or short story describing the journey into the labyrinth, with the chosen companion and tool chosen. This was challenging, but also very stimulating. The use of visual and artefact stimuli was enthusiastically welcomed, and used, by participants – a brilliant activity.
The ‘read aloud’ session, thirty minutes later, was testament to the quality of Beth’s leadership and teaching, as a high calibre of words and work was produced.
The whole day was interesting, interactive, creatively stimulating, well planned and organized and expertly led, and I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the inner and outer journeys of the Thornham Labyrinth, the writing which emerged, and the sharing. Brilliant.
It was a wonderful day and a marvellous workshop. Thank you”.
Sue Benbow 25th July, 2017