The idea for Read to Write grew from conversations with writers in Mexborough. Working closely with individuals who wanted to develop their own practice as poets, I was asked to recommend poets who would help them in their creative journey. Read to Write is based on a simple premise: the reading of good poetry leads to the writing of good poetry – and both lead to the public performance of that poetry. The group started meeting in September 2015, and has continued on a weekly basis since then. Each hour-long session is informal and self-contained. We tend to look in detail at either one or two poems by established poets and try to set them in the context in which they were written. Some of the poets we’ve covered so far have included W H Auden, Sylvia Plath, Thom Gunn, and Thomas Hardy. The second hour is spent discussing the poems and looking at ways in which they might be used in our own practice as writers.

We occasionally have open workshop sessions where we offer supportive, practical criticism of new work by members of the group itself. The meetings are free and open to all, designed on a drop-in basis – so it doesn’t matter if you miss a week or two because each unit is self-contained. By concentrating on poetry rather than other genres we hope to offer something tailor-made for those who are coming to poetry for the first time as well as those with more experience. We are a very lively, varied and eclectic group who believe in the importance of poetry both to our own lives and to the society in which we live.

With continued support from Right Up Our Street, we have firm links with both the Ted Hughes Festival and Write on Mexborough! which is led by poet Steve Ely.

Read to Write meets twice a week – Mondays at one at Balby Library and Tuesdays at 6.30 at 30 Mexborough, 62 Main Street. The sessions are informal and run on a drop-in basis, lasting for anything between one and two hours. The focus is on the reading, writing, and performing of poetry. Free and open to everyone.

For more info contact the Facebook group.

Ian Parks