First Story Summer Arvon residential week 2017

Last week saw us take over all three Arvon centres in Devon, Shropshire and West Yorkshire for our First Story Summer Residential. In partnership with Arvon, we were able to bring 48 students from across the country to these beautiful residential centres for an intensive week of creative writing workshops and tutorials with experience Arvon tutors. In one workshop, First Story Writer-in-Residence Russ Litten, who tutored with Francesca Beard at The Hurst, asked students to write a poem on the theme ‘Our People.’ Each student then provided a line from their own piece to create this collaborative poem. Their voices combine here to create one people; this exercise wonderfully captures the sense of community which developed in the group in the short time they had together.


‘Our People’ by the First Story group at The Hurst Arvon centre

Our people are everywhere,
Well recognised for their large population,
Where the oldest existing language is spoken.
Our people come from the long march forward,
Looking back into where our people come from.
Our people come from a wound,
From a city cleaved in half,
But can you really tell?
Each neighbour shows love;
They exist in trace, like a palimpsest or nuts,
Knowing too much about who once loved who.
Some are obsessed
from the flight to the dive,
they say is controlled,
suffocating traditionalism
in place of life.
Our people are the noise from the street below;
they are still human,
they never get it right.
No-one is a stranger;
I know that’s hard to believe.
They come from the largest country in the world;
the land of those with forever working souls.


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