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Light about the Darkness

September 27, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


The flowers came out and they were on our side – Kenneth Koch

The leaves are coming uncoupled from their trees – James (age 5)

Poems have a special capacity to embrace dark subjects with a light touch. The ‘word machinery’ of a poem can hold such diverse feelings as joy and grief close together and harmoniously.

As children we use language experimentally until our imaginative playfulness is discouraged in the name of ‘correctness.’ As poets we must search again for the landscape in which a greater freedom and linguistic athleticism was briefly ours.

In this workshop we will examine a selection of poems by contemporary poets, particularly focussing upon the mechanisms they employ to captivate their reader by swiftly establishing warm rapport with them.

We will write quickly to prompts branching from the poems studied, aiming to outrun our inner police force and its inflexible rules of strict and serious, of this is right and that is wrong. And develop how to welcome readers into poems where dark subjects are handled, with humour and a light touch.

About Vanessa: 

Vanessa Lampert is an acupuncturist and poet from Oxfordshire. She has an MA in writing poetry from Newcastle University and Poetry School London. Since 2019 she has won the Café Writers prize, the Edward Thomas prize, the Sentinel prize and the Ver Poetry prize twice and come second in the Fish, Yeovil, Oxford Brookes, Ware, and Kent & Sussex prizes. She has been placed in many others including a commendation in the National Poetry Competition 2020 for which she was also listed in 2021.

Vanessa’s work has been widely published, most recently been in Magma, The Moth, The Oxford Times and Poetry Wales. She co-edits The Alchemy Spoon magazine and teaches children for Learn with Leaders in India. She has run workshops for Hive South Yorkshire, Poetry School London, Stanza groups countrywide and Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. Her pamphlet ‘On Long Loan’ is published by Live Canon and her first collection ‘Say It With Me’ will be published by Seren in April 2023.

This event is free, open to all ages and abilities, and all materials are provided. Please let us know you are coming by booking a ticket here.

The Oxford Poetry Library is an accessible space but please do let us know in advance if you have accessibility requirements via the contact form below or emailing us on oxfordpoetrylibrary@gmail.com.


September 27, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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The Community Works
21 Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HH United Kingdom
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