Poetry Group

Our new Poetry Group:  reflecting the voice of the soul

This term, GCP is delighted to launch our new Poetry Group for Members who are interested in poetry and want to stretch their creative reading and writing skills.

We are so lucky to welcome award-winning author and poet, Janis Mackay to the Grassmarket Community Project to lead this group. Our Poetry Group meets on Fridays between 11-1pm and our poetry-loving volunteer, Caroline, went along to find out more…

Poetry Group at GCP with Janis Mackay

‘Poetry offers insights into both the human psyche and human behaviour and it’s a place where the imagination can roam free.  Writing poetry can be healing and transformative because poems reflect the voice of the soul.’ (Psychology Today, April 2019)

Poetry can mean different things to different people. It can be a powerful healer, a teller of truths, an outlet for self-expression and a way of processing feelings. It can reduce fear, sadness, anger, and worry.  It can really help you tap into emotions and touch your soul.

More about Janis Mackay and her approach

Along with her many literary accolades, Janis has an MSc in Creative Writing and Personal Development and has many years of experience teaching creative writing to people of all abilities and confidence levels.

Janis is keen to teach an intimate group of Members who share a love of poetry and a desire to write,

‘The class is for people who love poetry, to write, and for those to develop their skills in a creative and supportive group.’

Janis creates a gentle, calming environment which encourages creativity, openness and builds confidence. The time flows effortlessly from reading to writing poetry and back again.

Members encourage each other to express themselves freely in a friendly and nurturing environment. Member Brian says,

‘I have been to lots of great classes at GCP but I think this one is definitely one of the best.’

A recent Poetry Group – Imagist Poetry

A recent session started with a warm-up inspired by Wordsworth’s suggestion, ‘Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.’  The group thought back over their morning, focusing on the importance to a writer of connecting with their senses. As Janis explained, ‘there are two influences on you as a writer, what you are aware of around you and also what is inside of you.’ 

Members then created collaborative pieces from their morning memories, producing evocative ‘imagist poetry’.

Poetry Group at GCP - poem by Rupert Brooke

The Group then went on to consider ‘list poetry’ using an extract taken from Rupert Brooke’s ‘The Great Lover’ poem as inspiration. Members individually created their own list poems about things they have loved and shared their work with the group.

Everyone felt so uplifted by the end of the session and had created some excellent poems.

As Robbie Burns himself wrote,

‘Now is the day and now is the hour.’

We are thrilled to now have a poetry group within our Members Programme, and look forward to celebrating the work of our own great poets!

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The Grassmarket Community Project’s Members Programme relies on the generosity of our customers, funders and donors. Our key funders for this area of our work are Nationwide Community Grants, The Robertson Trust and EVOC/Scottish Government Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund. We thank them for their essential continued support.

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