Writing poetry together is a lovely activity for doing over the course of a few weeks. Working on something as a group has a real sense of achievement and camaraderie and the pride in your residents’ faces will be worth it all.
Here are some of our top tips to get you started – you can use these in a group, but also in a one to one setting too:
- Brain storming, talking about the theme and asking questions, a white board is often useful to capture words and memories mentioned
- Use reminiscence flash cards to provoke memories and conversations
- Gathering snippets of what everyone says to incorporate later
- Write your them title on a whiteboard or big piece of paper so everyone can remember it
- Cut words out from magazines that are in keeping with the theme to spark ideas
- Go round the room and invite people to say what they remember about your theme – starting with individual memories is useful so there is lots of material and ideas to play with.
- Use the five senses to spark memory – what did things sound, feel, taste, smell or look like? (i.e the sea will taste salty, sound crashing, look azure, feel wet and rather than just saying, I walked by the sea, you can say I walked by the salty, azure, crashing waves. Simple but effective.)
- Start the sessions by reading famous poems together and then using a flip chart board to write down resident’s ideas based on the theme.
- Try to have a range of poetry to read – long, short, rhyming, not rhyming, one verse, several verses etc – this reinforces the idea of no right or wrong when it comes to writing poetry