• John Dempster

Writing Workshop with Aoife

We’re so grateful to Aoife Lyall for the wonderful HighlandLIT online workshop session she led last night on Zoom. I think I counted 35 attending at one point – there was even someone from New Mexico, USA!


Aoife is a gifted, and widely-pubished poet – her first collection Mother, Nature is due to be published early next year by Bloodaxe Books – but she invited us to write during the workshop either in poetry or prose.


Aoife’s carefully structured session challenged us to reflect one by one on three objects from our homes, and write about them, and about their personal significance in our lives. It sounds simple, but the session was planned in such a helpful and stimulating way that by the end of the hour many of us found that ideas and associations were welling up, and the writing was flowing freely. Someone wrote that ‘Aoife Lyall was truly brilliant and I have spent all evening scribbling away after it!’


It was an additional pleasure and inspiration to hear Aoife read some of her own work in the course of the session, including one not-yet-published poem.


What I particularly loved was Aoife’s description of working away at her poems to get them to a point where she is satisfied that they are the best she can possible make them. She spoke of working on poems on and off for five years, putting them through 27, 34, 90 drafts in her quest for perfection. How does she know when a poem is ‘finished?’ ‘When it stops annoying me,’ she said and described the delicious feeling when at last ‘you get it right.’


Thank you so much, Aoife for this lovely, inspiring evening!



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