Becoming a poet with Volpower

by volpower
4 years ago

“The poetry collection” started at the beginning of the year and is an initiative by Maggie, my project partner in Scotland, who is in charge of conceptualising and assisting the content preparation for the Volpower art’s exhibition.

Blogpost by Eleonora Psenner, Eurac Research

We received an instruction sheet by her explaining the exercise together with some “poetry tools” and a template to be handed out to the volunteers. The template was nicely set up and structured in a very clear way: two-three words to start each verse and in brackets, next to it, a short explanation of what was meant to be filled in and how to approach it. 

As one of the researchers of the South Tyrolean team, I am in charge of assisting the group of Volpower-volunteers in their artistic tasks and training. The Poetry Collection is one of the artistic activities that all project partners throughout the seven countries participating at Volpower have to assign to their participants during a set of “creative hubs”. These hubs are moments of encounter and exchange among the researcher and the volunteers, a fruitful moment not only for the project´s progress but also – and especially- to grow together as a group, including the research staff. 

Creating a safe space

When talking with the other coordinators of the creative hubs I could learn about the different experiences that each one was having with the exercise although the assignments, materials and target group was formally the same. For us researchers it became, thus, vital to discuss different manners of approaching the volunteers and to find out what could be useful techniques to facilitate the work, motivate the group and or to set up “rules of the game” that – although simple- could be essential for establishing an enabling environment for producing creative content

From my personal experience, accompanying Fatema, Anna, Asia, Khalid, Adewale, Miriam and Valentina through the poetry assignment, I can say that working in group has been fundamental. We met up twice, at Eurac’s main building, once in January and one time on February 14th – St. Valentine’s Day, since we love our Volpower project☺. Maybe the fact to have scheduled the meetings from 4 to 8pm on two Friday evenings, when all employees were calling it a day, made it even more special. 

We gathered in the “Lounge”, a rather relaxed and at the same time modern meeting room with some colorful armchairs and a nice big wooden table surrounded with benches. It is next door to the head office, which explains why once we got visit by the Eurac’s president who was wondering what was going on in the Lounge on a Friday evening with door open and a group of youth sitting in silence at a table covered with Heidi’s bowls of chips and juices (and some additional Valentine pralines;) scribbling on a paper or glancing into the room, concentrated to find the proper words or thoughts for their poem line. 

Setting up our rules of the game

We agreed on having each time one of the participants introducing the verse’s initial words, then leaving time for each one to compose his/her sentence and once completed to put the pencil down and wait for the last one of the group to finish. After that the person who had introduced the “topic” was the one to read out aloud what she/he had written, followed by the others, one by one. These moments were probably the most fascinating ones for us: finding the way to start (some by scribbling, some by using pastel colors to paint an image until finding the words to describe their idea, and once we even clapped our hands altogether in a “1-2-3” rhythm to kind of kick the words out of our bodies and overcome our mental blockades). I loved to observe the participants working their way through the poem. They were disciplined in respecting each other’s struggles and pace, in actively participating by reading their own creation out aloud and opening up themselves while at same time remaining attentive and giving ear and appreciation to what their colleagues were sharing. 

New horizons to share and explore

To work in group helps to motivate and empower. It inspires and enables to open the own horizon by being given the unique opportunity to explore the inner world of oneself and the other buddies. Everyone, including the researchers, are part of the creative exchange and contribute to build trust, besides producing artistic content for the Volpower’s exhibition. With permission of the author we want to share with you one of the poems that our volunteers realized during the creative hub in South Tyrol. You will see how magic this art work can be. What, however, counts even more in this kind of assignments is the quality of the process.

Khalid while writing his poem


By Khalid Ibrahim Destiny

I am like a flower, you hold me tight you lose me and you hold me gently I become fabulous. 

I wonder what is going on in the heart of a lion when hunting for another animal child to feed his own child. 

I heard animals crying in the jungle. I went out to take a look: the animal was stuck in a hunter trap. I wanted to help but no way will I go close that I will not be bitten by the animal. So I wish I can speak his language to let him know am trying to help. 

I see the evening sun shining and beautiful, I just wish I could hug it.

I want to listen to the sound of the rain, the sound of the water and the sound of the sea so I can relax my soul. 

I am like a flower, you hold me tight you lose me and you hold me gently I become fabulous.

I pretend to be fine even when the situation hurts so badly all because I don’t like the word sorry

I feel the pain and the joy of a pregnant woman, I always want to help.

I feel so high that I want to be close to God, so when a mosquito bites me he will shout there is power in that blood!

I touch the shadow of my face and I can feel the awesomeness of my face.

I worry that the unborn kids will forget the things of the world al because of phones. 

I recall when I was in school and my teacher took my phone, started reading my text messages, looking if I have any love texts from girls… 

I am like a flower you hold me tight you lose me and you hold me gently I become fabulous. 

I understand that everyone likes to watch the stars but up till date no one knows what they really look like. 

I say keep smiling is the key of love.

I dream one day everyone will live in the world and feel equal with no superiority. 

I try to always be the best, then I realize I may not be the best but am better than the rest. 

I hope to be there when you are going to need me most, I hope to be there to hold your hands for the last time, I hope to be there when you say goodbye forever. 

I am like a flower, you hold me tight you lose me and you hold me gently I become fabulous.