Two workshops this week. On Thursday I went to a sixth form college in West London, where the gay club and writing club had mixed for a special workshop. As soon as I arrived, one of them informed me that they’d written about one of my poems for their coursework, which was both flattering and strange, especially because it was an obscure, short one called “At Last We Are Alone”. The thing about working with teenagers, especially since I still consider myself one despite being in my mid-twenties, is that they have not left the bizarre social space of institutionalised education. So the barriers are up but only because they’ve never been down.
Last week I asked everyone to bring a poem they thought needed a lot of work. They swapped among themselves, spent the week writing feedback, and then, yesterday, presented their thoughts and improvements to the rest of the group. Almost everything I do is coloured by a book I fell in love with over the summer, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Friere, specifically the sections about giving up power. A zine I was reading put it especially well: in a piece entitled “Queers Kissing and Accountability” Shannon Perez-Derby states:
“Often we get power without asking for it and giving away power can feel counter intuitive because it’s something we’re not taught to do, and have almost no models for.”
So I’m moving house again. I was going through a pile of lecture notes and found something I’d made to help me revise Hegel:
I thought this was very funny.