Members of Norwich Writers’ Circle were delighted to welcome award-winning poet and mentor Heidi Williamson to our meeting on Tuesday 16th January. Heidi led an instructive and entertaining workshop on how the use of poetic techniques can improve both our prose and poetry.
The group was challenged to join a number of free-writing exercises, demonstrating the use of sound, patterning, editing and silence. Heidi encouraged us to experiment with the length of sentences, to read our work out loud when editing (where we get bored, the reader will get bored!), to seek stronger words to replace overused verbs. We should look to improve both the rhythm and vocabulary in our sentences.
Heidi recommended us to become absorbed in a different world, seeking out occupations or places that are out of our life experience, in order to expand our range. Why not to go the dictionary, find ten random words and try incorporating them into a paragraph of free writing? Do not be afraid to repeat words for emphasis – poets often use patterning repetition to great effect.
Finally the group discussed the use of silence, pauses and tension in our writing, techniques more often found in poetry than in prose.
The workshop was inspiring and enlightening and Robin Parkinson thanks Heidi on behalf of the group. During our refreshment break Heidi signed copies of her two anthologies, Electric Shadow and The Print Museum.