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7 things you need to know about: Poetry Therapy

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This post has got me thinking about which poems I would share around a fire and why. Which ones would be on your list?

Scarborough Mysteries

By Victoria Field

vickyfVictoria Field qualified as Certified Poetry Therapist with the National Federation for Biblio-Poetry Therapy in 2005 – she has since done a two year training as a mentor-supervisor for the, now, International Federation for Biblio-Poetry Therapy. She is a poet, playwright, fiction and memoir writer,  a member of the British Psychological Society and an International Fellow at the England Centre for Practice Development at Canterbury Christ Church University – full details on  Read her inspiring and thought-provoking new book, Baggage: A Book of Leavings – part travelogue, part memoir, part reflections on loss and redemption –

Poetry Therapy is not just poetry
We work with the ‘poetic’ in all literary forms – and even beyond ,with music, movement, film and visual arts. The arts open an imaginative space in which we can encounter the full potential of our lives and humanity.

But poetry…

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Years into this process and practice of creating Leaf & Twig I stumbled upon the term “Ekphrastic poetry” which is the verbal representation of visual representation. It has a history that reac…

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5 Ways to Brainstorm Story Ideas

What I like about this brainstorming list are the up to date technological ideas for stimulating creative writing. Why not give one a try today?

A Writer's Path


by Tonya R. Moore

Brainstorming is generally the first step of the writing process. When planning a story, brainstorming helps to spark creativity and helps us to come up with new and original ideas or maybe even put news twists on old ideas.

Here’s a list of 5 ways I generally go about brainstorming story ideas:

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Getting to the Heart of Plain Language

Five easy steps to remember for writing in a plain language style.

A Writer's Path


by Suzanne Purkis

You probably don’t know this, but I’m a member of Plain Language Association International. Plain language is all about clear communication. It’s a way of writing and presenting information that makes it easy for readers to understand.

In our globally connected world, accessible language and clear communication are more important than ever. So today, I’d like to tell you a bit about the basics of plain language.

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The Never-ending story

The cranes hovering above a few of the eighteenP1020098 towers of the Sagrada Familia tell the never-ending story of Barcelona’s unique cathedral.

First conceived in 1866 and continued by Gaudi in 1883, the building is as ornate on the outside as Rosslyn chapel near Edinburgh is on the inside.

As for the interior I can only imagine the wonders within as an endless queue of visitors snakes around the cathedral in concentric coils from dawn to dusk.

It is possible to speed up the entry process by purchasing a timed ticket in advance but there are many more inspiring sights to see in this mind-blowing city.

It took me all afternoon to absorb the sculpted walls, pillars and ceilings of tiny Rosslyn so I could be missing for a whole week if I were to enter the portals of the Sagrada Familia.


Barcelona’s Gothic Cathedral

P1030245.JPGThe towers of Barcelona’s Gothic cathedral soar above tourists thronging the steps that provide the stage for the scene of a murder in Jessica Cornwell’s The Serpent Papers.

I chose the book for several reasons but not least because I like to discover new writers and Jessica was chosen as one of the Observer’s debut authors of the year when this book was published by Quercus in 2015.

I found this gothic thriller filed next to Bernard Cornwell on the fantasy fiction shelves of a well known booksellers and particularly enjoyed the scene of the dragon parade for the feast of St. Joan (John) on the 23rd June, the date of the murder.

The heroine Anna Verco is a refreshing take on the male protagonists more often cast in this genre. She is a writer and researcher with syballine skills that are used to help her to solve the mystery of a series of killings spread over a decade.

The myth of the Sibyl and her books of prophecy are woven into the narrative which raises some interesting questions about the oracular abilities of all kinds of writers.



Recreations of the Tower of Babel

Whilst researching the myth of the Tower of Babel I came across Barnarby Barford’s recreation of the tower using 3000 miniature bone china shops for a sculptural installation at London’s V&A museum in 2015.

Barford’s Tower invites visitors to consider the consequences on society of modern consumer habits. My own version consists of expanding my knowledge of languages in preparation for a future European road trip.

The original tower or ziggurat in the town of Babylon was said to consist of 7 tiers which corresponded to the 7 spheres. At the time of its construction people all spoke the one language. As a result of its destruction they began to speak in many different tongues.

Several world myths tell of towers or holy mountains which have either been destroyed by God or eroded by wind and rain. The result is always a confusion of sounds that form an incomprehensible babble.

I hope to be able to make myself better understood on my travels by building on languages learnt at school and university to create a tower of useful words and phrases in: French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish.

A tower which could end up disintegrating into gobbledygook if I’m not careful. If only Esperanto had been more popular or we were all taught to speak the same second language!















Bell Tower on Mount Lycabettos

DSCF2630.JPGI found this photo of the bell tower on the viewing platform at the top of Mount Lycabettos whilst trawling through my digital archives for one of the Tower of the Winds.

The creation of Mount Lycabettos, according to myth, was as accidental as the finding of this photo. The story is that the goddess Athena was carrying a rock over to the Acropolis where she was building her temple when bad news from a crow caused her to drop it.

The name Lycabettos is locally translated as ‘the path of the wolves’ which used to roam the plains of Attica that can be seen stretching into the distance. The hill itself is 300m above sea level and is visible from many parts of the Greek capital.

The viewing platform, bell tower, church of St. George, theatre and restaurant on the top can be reached either by walking up the zigzag path from Aristippou Street or by taking the funicular up the inside of the limestone hill from Ploutarchou Street.

We arrived before opening time one hot sunny morning a few years ago. What is missing from this photo are the red clouds that arrived just after coffee bearing dust from the Sahara.

As we descended the hill it started to rain blood red. That was when I understood how people in ancient times considered such clouds to be a bad omen.



Return to the Tower of the Winds

While you are reading this post I will have taken advantage of WordPress’s scheduling feature to become a time traveller and make a return trip to the Tower of the Winds in Athens.

The Tower of the Winds is an octagonal structure built in 50BC by the Macedonian astronomer Andronicus. It functions as a compass, sundial, weather vane and water clock (said to be powered by an underground spring) and is carved with the faces of the 8 winds:

  • Boreas
  • Caecias
  • Apeliotes
  • Euros
  • Notos
  • Lips
  • Zephyros
  • Skiron

These are the classical winds which used to be shown on old city maps.

The reason for my return is to revisit the Acropolis, the location of my engagement to Ian over 30 years ago, and to take photographs of the key sites which hold meaning for us.  Unlike the Tower of the Winds, our original copies appear to have disappeared over time.

The Tower is one of the less well known landmarks which I remember for its colour (burnt orange according to my memory) and proximity to the narrow street which houses a reconstructed Roman Bathhouse.  Well worth a visit and signposted from the Tower.

Tower building on Holy Island

Towers are the focus of my new writing project, and what better place to start than with the phenomenon of Tower Building as photographed on the North shore of Holy Island in Northumberland, a county close to my heart.

Over the past few years I have seen these rock art forms grow into a miniature cityscape as more and more visitors have built their own creative designs along the beach front.

On our last visit Ian captured some of the towers on camera while I searched for a suitable stone to balance on top of a six-tiered cairn. I selected a rose coloured one, the same shade as the ruined priory walls.

The towers depicted above appear to reflect the 16th century castle and can be found just past the old lime kilns, but there are many other stone sculptures along the shoreline.

Should you wish to brave the elements and cross the causeway to this island, also known as Lindisfarne, remember to take note of the safe crossing times which can be found on:


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