Surrey New Writers Festival – Part One

Hello Poetry Lovers

Well, I had the time of my life at the Surrey New Writer’s Festival yesterday. Intricately planned, with a wide range of writing sessions.

I adored the Taster Session of Poetic Compaction (getting started with short form poetry). Beautifully opened by Sharron Green and an in-depth introduction of why short form poetry, we discovered the joys of Rob Kiely who ran the class.

Poet in residence at the University of Surrey and author of Incomparable Poetry: An Essay on the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 and Irish Literature and Simmering of a declarative void, Rob, passionate about his art, really was compulsive listening.

As was Sharron, as this prolific poet took us through short forms such as haiku, Elfchen’s, and my favourites, nonet and acrostic’s. These have been previously featured as poetry challenges on Instagram, so I’ve had great fun with them already.

Rob gave us many amusing and fascinating examples of short form poetry, the ones that moved me were

University Days

This poem has been removed for further study

Read Me


Amazing short and witty pieces by the late Tom Raworth. I certainly intend to read more of his work.

Rob explained the feeling for writing short pieces that leads to more weight, and what a democratic art form it really was.

Then Rob gave us a 10 minute exercise finding a seed word, and to use it at the beginning and the end in reverse. I didn’t really get there but this was my attempt;

The Sandwich Affair

I got a sandwich from the Co-op. 

Pastrami.  New York Deli Style. 

“But how do you know?”,

I asked the young assistant, 

“Have you ever been to New York?” 

She looked at me blankly, and

I was stunned how she could be 

so uncooperative. 

So I haven’t really gone by the rules but it was great fun anyway. Also luckily, I was tucking into a sandwich from the Co-op, so I really did have rich pickings.

We all had great fun reading them out, followed by a fascinating Q&A session chaired by Sharron.

One interesting question was the argument for rhyming form against free verse. The most important answer to this was of being true to yourself. A concept I have been thinking about. My poetry is quite slaggy and very undisciplined but I have been pondering the very same thing. It’s a part of who I am, so thank you for putting that into words for me.

Great class, had a super time. Thank you so much for that.

Now tune in soon for Part II where I feature the wonderful Nikita Gill.

Dobby sitting there trying to work out any remote concept in poetry! She’d rather have fish – another great art form.

4 thoughts on “Surrey New Writers Festival – Part One

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