Stirred: Echo

Stirred Echo Workshop was a part of People in Communities events.

We used echo shaped forms, forms that use repetition such as pantoums, sestinas, and sonnenizios. Also a form of repetition that is found poetry in the case of centos.

We began by making sonnet cento’s out of Shakespeare, John Donne, Tennyson, Robert Frost, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Sir Philip Sidney, John Milton.

We deliberately used traditional voices in the form to make sonnet centos to begin exploring ideas of how to re-establish a modern voice by manipulating forms, especially as forms can really put poets off writing, when you freeze because you feel intimidated by the history of the form or feel like it is outdated. This theory is interesting from this perspective:

‘Finch observes that unlike male poets, women poets do not have a canon of established female formal poets against whom to define themselves. Rather, a contemporary feminist formalist has only a few models. Finch sees this dearth of imposing voices as an opening, stating, “Formalism presents us not with big stale husks but small growing seedlings, not the discouragement of huge closed books but the challenge of open, relatively empty pages.”-Female Tradition as Feminist Innovation (2005)-Annie FinchIMG_2519 essay.’

We then moved onto looking at pantoums, paradelles, and sonnenizios.

You can find out here about these forms and their ridiculous origins! It was really fun and interesting to see people’s different takes on the forms. Here’s Marilyn Hacker, Iva’s Pantoum.

Here’s my broken pantoum on the theme of Echo:




Echo, you fell into my arms

As liquid and living as a breathing snake

These days pass fast and we forget your name

You tell where the sun is as well



As liquid and loving as a biting snake

Wrapping their hate around a woman’s head

We live to tell the sun of our mistakes

Hissing at men who march to their stone graves


Balancing their hate upon a woman’s head

Send her to the well, where she will lean

Hiss at the drop into a watery grave

The echoes there are tales we can’t unmake


Send her to the well with her dreams

To drown her wishes in the bucket’s drop

The echoes know the tales we can’t unmake

Her footsteps take us back to Eve’s mistake


Thanks so much to all who came, was some excellent writing done! Next Stirred Workshop is on Wednesday 18th February, 6pm at Kim by the Sea, facebook event here:

Corporeal beings 2

We also have a Stirred workshop as part of Mary Wollstonecraft Series at the People’s History Museum, find full line up of events here, more details will be forthcoming nearer time!


The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

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Posted in BeccaAudra, Events, Feminist thinking
One comment on “Stirred: Echo
  1. sarahmillerwhowrites says:

    Really enjoyed this workshop :-)

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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