A poetry project was carried out by staff and residents of a Winchester charity, with assistance from the Hampshire poet.
A welfare poetry project for the St John’s Winchester charity, led by Hampshire poet Kathryn Bevis, has inspired residents and staff to write poems that will be published in a new book and displayed publicly around the Colebrook Street residential development slated for completion in 2022.
The sessions were designed by Kathryn and started by St John’s Winchester as a way for residents and staff to express themselves, to celebrate their lives by writing about the places, people and memories that matter most to them.
The workshops were held once a week for six weeks, with Kathryn teaching participants how to translate their thoughts and feelings into poetry on the page. Since then, she has been accompanying poets, young and old, to polish and edit their work, ensuring that their poems are as good as possible for publication and exhibition.
Many of these poems will be published in a new anthology. Sufficient copies will be printed for each resident and staff member, as well as for immediate neighbors, local libraries, schools and prisons.
Kathryn is now writing a commissioned poem which will take her inspiration, ideas and images from the work she has done within the St John’s family and reflecting her values, as well as her discussions with residents, staff and volunteers. This poem will be posted permanently on the new site.
Clive Cook, Managing Director of St John’s, said: “We were delighted with the response to this project. The workshops really helped participants come together as members of a community, learn to write about experiences that interest them, and have the opportunity to display their poems publicly.
Kathryn Bevis said: “I have been touched and inspired by my experiences leading this poetry for well-being project within St John’s. I hadn’t realized how much a close and loving community exists within its walls and it has been an absolute privilege to work with such talented and dedicated people, both residents and staff.
“The poems that resulted from their imaginative engagement are beautifully varied. Each of these poems is as individual and alive as a face, and each demands something fresh from us.
“Some of these poems want to tell us their stories, others to reveal secrets, still others want to bless us, to conspire with us, to reach out to us. I can’t wait for these poems to find their permanent place inside the covers of our book and on the walls of the new buildings in St John.