Team Leader Amrit, on her love of poetry and her “PACE Presents Poetry” course
Over the last six months, we have seen our day-to-day lives change. Our social interactions, activities such as music concerts, theatres and sporting events have all been abruptly put on hold or have been severely impacted. PACE Multi-Sport sessions had to be postponed, for example. However, as a collective society one of our greatest strengths is being able to adapt to difficult situations – and the PACE community is no different. PACE Presents was born!
At its core, PACE Presents is a four week programme of 30-60 minute sessions delivered by key team leaders, where they delve into a particular hobby or talent that is near and dear to their heart.
Following successful henna workshops, PACE Presents threw itself into the world of poetry, specifically learning the history of and creating their own personal Haiku – a famous Japanese form of poetry. The response to sessions from our members was incredible. Over the four sessions they created haikus, a poem tree and one member, Chirag, even created a poem in a form of a video. All of which you can view here.
None of this would have been possible without the expertise and generosity of our PACE Presenter, Amrit Kaur. We sat down with Amrit to discuss a range of topics: from discovering a passion for poetry, to creating PACE Presents sessions, and some of her favourite moments.
When did you find out you had a passion for poetry? What do you love about it?
I enjoyed poetry since I was in primary school, where we had lots of opportunities to get writing, enter fun competitions and even have some of our work published. I then enjoyed studying poetry at GCSE and A Level, particularly by Carol Ann Duffy who features on the national curriculum and has also been poet laureate and also John Keats due to the deeper hidden meaning behind some of his poems. I like unravelling a poem, looking at the clever ways in which language is used to convey meaning and the use of symbolism to deliver messages.
When PACE approached you to host PACE online, what was your initial reaction? And were you nervous leading into your first session?
Sunil asked me if I would be interested in hosting some PACE online sessions and to have a think about what I could base my sessions on. I decided to lead on poetry as I had done a few poetry sessions with members at PACE at the Havelock centre in the past and everyone usually enjoyed getting creative. Also, I felt due to being in lockdown writing poetry could be a good way to channel thoughts and feelings in a positive way. I was fairly nervous before presenting my first PACE online poetry session but equally excited which gave me the adrenaline to host.
Many of our members who took part in the sessions were newcomers to the subject. What was it like trying to create sessions plans for our members? Were you surprised by how quickly they took to the subject?
I tried to cater for the variety of needs of our members in differentiating outcomes, so members could produce anything from a few sounds or words to a few lines or stanzas. I encouraged everyone to work at their own pace and was amazed by what they produced!
Do you have a favourite moment or series of moments from the sessions?
My favourite moment was one of the sessions where I shared the poems written and sent in by members as it was so nice to celebrate their creativity. I also enjoyed everyone interpreting each other’s poems as there were some great discussions held about hidden meanings and symbolism.
Looking back, would you do anything different and if so, why?
If I were to do the sessions over again and had more time to plan I might have set various themes each week, and asked members to keep a journal of their thoughts on the given topics or collect some stimulus, such as some personal items at home related to the topic that they would be happy to share and use these to get them to form their own poem or a group one in our live sessions. I may also have done some work on language techniques.
Judging from the amazing poems produced from the members, many of them seem to have a talent for it. Is there anything you’d recommend them to do to possibly take it to the next stage?
I Would suggest for everyone to keep writing if they enjoy it, and to also keep an eye out for any competitions they could possibly enter their poems into.
Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to the PACE community?
I’d only like to add that it was fantastic leading the PACE online sessions, especially because of the numbers of members who joined, their honesty and bravery in sharing their experiences in their poems and also the excitement and energy in sessions when it came to sharing poems and critiquing them. There was a real sense of positivity, with everyone supporting each other’s work.
A big thank you to Amrit for taking the time to speak with us and the PACE community today.