I’ve been running creative writing and poetry discussion groups for over twenty years. I’ve specialised in working with vulnerable adults and ‘hard to reach’ learners in environments such as prisons, homeless shelters and psychiatric wards.
Most recently I’ve been working with seniors and elders within my community. The Covid-19 outbreak has forced the closure of these classes and many learners now face long periods of isolation.
I am extremely concerned for the well-being and mental health of those who’ve come to rely on these sessions and have decided to continue with a group of seniors I’ve been mentoring in Newham, London – a borough with very little mental health provision – by running a free online poetry class for them.
Since many others also face long periods of isolation the need to stay connected and engaged is essential. As a result I have decided to run a weekly, online ‘open access’ poetry class as well.
This class is mainly targeted to senior citizens or those most impacted by self-isolation but is also designed to bring all people together and share a passion for poetry.
Our first session will be on the theme of ‘Connection’ and we’ll be looking at poetry written from prisons, hospitals and warzones. We’ll see how well writers have responded to isolation and take a look at poets who’ve employed techniques beyond the page to send their messages out to the world.
Class begins Monday 30th March
7pm GMT London
8pm CET Milan
2pm ET New York
11am PT San Fransisco
Classes will be limited to 10 places, will run weekly for at least one month and continue for as long as funding is in place.
Needless to say the Covid-19 outbreak has meant that I, like many others, have been left without an income. I will be running these sessions independently, without backing or assistance from charitable bodies or educational organisations, using the conferencing application Zoom that can be accessed for free by users on smartphones, tablets or web browsers.
If you’d like to support me with this initiative, enrich your life and the lives of those at risk and most affected by the virus you can do so for as little as £1 ($1) a month on my Patreon page.
Jan has a totally original and fresh approach to making poetry relevant, interesting and accessible.
Martine Osorio, HMP Feltham