Creative Writing Workshops on Zoom

Zoom creative writing workshops

There are just a couple spaces left available on the introductory creative writing workshops I will be facilitating on Zoom from 1st September. With Covid19 cases rising and our Taoiséach announcing further restrictions, I am hoping that creating literary art in a group will lift spirits and keep everyone safe through the autumn and winter months as medical science grapples with this new phenomenum.

Make a little nest for your feelings about being alive, nurture them that they may fledge and fly.

Grayson Perry, Guardian Weekend, 15 August 2020

Even if writing is not your thing, find some art form to practice – dance, drama, a musical instrument, photography, fabric art, sculpture, painting – ANYTHING! It is good for you head and excellent for your heart. You don’t need to be perfect. You can dabble. You can be downright awful, but you sure may have some fun doing whatever art form you tackle. I seriously practice the craft of writing, but I have loads of fun making collages and doing plain knitting. Nothing fancy, just playing like I did when I was a kid and trying various things out when I was working on my Girl Scout badges.

Why try creative writing? Because you may surprise yourself with what you can imagine. You may also gain useful insights into your own life and motivation. You may entertain others, inspire them, move them with your bravery at saying the things only you can say. Before you actually say those words out loud, you practice by putting them down on paper or tapping those words across the screen in the safety of your own room.

Word Alchemy creative workshops are another safe place where you can explore expressing yourself with the written word in a safely held group. And, as Grayson Perry also observes, making art in a group is good for our mental health. And this new virus is hammering the mental health of many. Given that fact, I want to give a shout out to the Covid19 Project, a free counselling service that is available to those living on the island of Ireland thatis being run by My Mind.

All art helps us comprehend our world, both the outer and inner variety. If you would like to learn more about the introductory course I am running this September, check out my previous blog, which also includes the registration form. Only two more places left!

Be sure to check out the details at I hope to see you on the Zoom screen soon. And we will have lots of opportunity to collaborate with others in making art with words.


The Poetry Daily harks back to some art I saw in Glasgow on my visit in May. I was really attracted by a series of three oils on board by Lois Green called Sevenish. I love domesticity elevated to art. Women writers and artists often get criticised for  using domestic settings and themes. When they go against that rubric I want to ‘Hurray!’ When these subjects are deemed museum worthy I feel the world turns a little more in favour of ‘women’s work’, recognising its value and validating it. When a theme for poetry practice doesn’t immediately leap to mind in the morning, artwork that moved me on a museum or gallery visit is there in my iPad to inspire.  Green’s 7am portrait is definitely not at high summer, wheras mine is rooted in this season. 

But I do seem to be still on a five line jag. Not using yesterday’s formula, but a syllabic pattern of my own devising.

In reverse order Sevenish 3,2,1

And my version in five parts.


The only chat is with the cats.

The bed is tossed. A book is lost.

Bright sun. No cloud. Farm machines sound loud.

The sink fills up with cups and plates.

It’s still early. But feels so late.

Copyright 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Prime the Poetry Pump

The road trip ends today as we ferry over to Northern Ireland this lunchtime. The final day before we journey home found me wandering happily in a museum and a creative gallery space in Glasgow. (After beaches, my second most happy place.) I wish I were gifted with the talent to make beautiful things with my hands. I am in awe of visual artists and crafts persons. Wandering around exhibitions primes my poetry pump.  One medium meets another. Today’s poem takes its starting point from work in the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art. The provenance will be revealed at the end of the blog post. The poem acts as a response to the call made by another artist working in another medium who was responding to her reading of an author. That all were women and creative artists was apt. The actual exhibit was placed in a slightly lower gallery on the fringes of larger exhibition entitled Domestic Bliss. That creative artist’s work and living space often overlap, especially for women, made its placement within the wider context especially clever.

Studio Echoes

Study me this list:

Trophy             Treason       Traitor

Friend          Acquaintance         Manipulation


Then this:

Prize      Priceless      Imprison

Mate    Pal     Twist


Take the salt down from the cupboard.

Cast your circle.

Step into your space.

Learn to forget dirty plates.

They are outside the magic circle,

The frenemy of creativity

Study this:

the twist

of the steak knife

in the cutlery

drawn against

blank canvas

the skin of your memory.

Copyright 2019 Bee Smith

Lesson in Art

If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I am putting in a bid that in my next lifetime I come back as a visual artist. I have an eye as they say, but the coordination with my hand is just lacking. Well, my sight ain’t great either after a bout of rubella at age eight.  But one of the magical memories of my childhood was going on visits to art museums, in particular the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I am not sure why we never made it into the one in Philadelphia on visits to my siblings at college in the suburbs. But that has become an ingrained habit to visit art museums in the cities and towns I visit or live in. When in Leeds, I would sometimes visit the Leeds City Art Gallery  on my lunch hour and do a bit of writing on a bench inside. On a lay over in Chicago I hot footed it to their Art Institute before catching my train.

And while the Louvre left me strangely unmoved (perhaps I was over-tired seeing as I had slept top to tail in a single bed with a college buddy when there was a problem with our reservation.) I have rarely been so moved as by the Vincent Van Gogh’s in Amsterdam.  Washington, DC was a playground  during my own college years, with so many riches acquired by the Smithsonian. London’s Portrait Gallery drew me back again and again on rainy Sundays.

I first saw Andrew Wyeth as a print hanging over the piano in my childhood home. I next saw his work in a retrospective at London’s Royal Academy. Later, I was able to visit the Wyeth collection in Chadd’s Ford. Likewise, Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party was first viewed in an article in MS magazine. I saw the real thing in London’s Islington in a venue whose name I no longer remember. That installation has a permanent home now in the Brooklyn Museum. I have been back two of three times since.

I suppose I am a bit of an art pilgrim. And I do give thanks to those philanthropists who decided to give back by endowing museums and donating collections. Sometimes robber barons do things that can redeem some of their greed.

So, today’s poetry practice returns to free, or open, form.


Lessons in Art



In terms of scale and scope-

height and breadth and depth

of light and shading –

those are never captured

in the postcard bought in the gallery shop.


Which I would take home as relic



Similar, but not quite the same

to the driftwood, pebbles and shells

brought back from an outing to the beach

once the sand had been brushed off.


There I had been conversing directly

subject to object

with Creation’s mind

for a moment.


There it met with

human hand and heart.

That was the lesson in the art museum,

the difference between


studying something from a plate in a book

and then standing before it.


The hush and awe being in

the cathedral of creation

knowing the theory of the existence of angels

and feeling them brush past you,

the proof of their wings.


Copyright © Bee Smith 2018


Today’s featured image is Snowfall at Slimasaku, by Utagawa Hiroshige. It is one of the thousands of Open Access, Public Domain images that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has released online.  I encountered haiku and Japanese print art around the same impressionable age.