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We Hear From Ella Burns Robbins about the Nottingham Poetry Festival and Their Wide Range of Wellbeing Workshops

4 May 22 words: Marta Tavares

The Nottingham Poetry Festival isn’t just a place to discover the finest wordsmiths in the city; with a range of wellbeing workshops and activities on offer, it also provides the perfect opportunity to switch off and unwind. We run through some of the highlights…

Over the last couple of years, nothing has been normal, and moments for reflection and relaxation have been hard to come by. Luckily, the Nottingham Poetry Festival is here to help. 

Returning to the city with a wide variety of engaging workshops and activities between Friday 6 and Sunday 15 May, the team at NPF have devised a plan to help us all discover the connection between poetry and a zen mindstate - with some events even being held outdoors to put you in direct contact with nature.

On Sunday 8, you can take part in wellbeing-focused workshop ‘A Moment in Time’, led by local poet Ella Burns Robbins and centred around embracing the comfort created by our positive memories.

“You’ll be able to encapsulate a memory that you can revisit and it’ll take you back to the place where there’s something good,” explains Nottingham-based Ella. “I hope it’s a moment in the day where people can step away from the judgement around creativity and expectations, and step into connecting with themselves.”

The relationship between wellbeing and poetry is inherently intertwined, she claims, with the artform providing a way of dealing with human emotions, especially the challenging ones. “You can explain a feeling, a thought, a moment, without telling the whole story and keeping your vulnerability anonymous,” Ella says. “Poetry wrapped up in a word is: opportunity. There’s so much depth to it, words are never stagnant, you can move from one place to another metaphorically and physically. It’s an opportunity for growth, exploration, developing your writing and engaging with thoughts and feelings you couldn’t do otherwise.”

It’s an opportunity for growth, exploration, developing your writing and engaging with thoughts and feelings you couldn’t do otherwise

Robbins’ workshop isn’t the only way to get your wellbeing fix though, with the festival’s packed schedule featuring plenty of ways to relax and unwind. If letting out your anger, fears or hopes onto a sheet of paper through zen writing and Japanese haikus is your cup of tea, Rich Goodson’s ‘World Jam: How to Write Zen’ workshop on Sunday 8 is perfect for you. 

Sundays aren’t all about rage though, and if you’re more of a fresh air and chill vibes type of person, you can join poet Nicky Tullet on a walk around the two lakes of Colwick Country Park - where you can be inspired by her work between 4pm and 5pm. 

The following weekend, on Saturday 14 May - the penultimate day of the festival - you can also join Caroline Stancer for ‘Poetry and Mindfulness’ from 10am-12pm in Middle Street Resource Centre, with her poems and guidance bound to open your eyes to the intensity of the most ordinary moments. And you can get yourself outside for a relaxing walk later in the day, as Gail Webb talks you through finding new and interesting ways to connect with nature at Lady Bay Arts Trail from 1pm to 3pm. 

So, if you want to heal and connect with your inner-self, meet other like-minded people, and express your feelings through writing poetry, don’t miss out on this amazing edition of the Nottingham Poetry Festival.

You can find the full Nottingham Poetry Festival schedule on their website

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