Hackney poet captures readers' lockdown turmoil in verse

A closeup of poet Daniel Skyle

Poet Daniel Skyle. - Credit: Daniel Skyle

A Hackney writer has urged others to join a weekly poetry workshop after penning new prose for a series called Pandemic Poetry. 

Daniel Skyle, a poet, freelance journalist and creative writing teacher, has created verses on topics like NHS heroes and free school meals.

He also attends weekly Lockdown Poetry Workshops run by Hackney libraries. 

He said Pandemic Poetry is his “own way of dealing with this very strange situation," and believes writing can help people navigate through tough times.

“With writing, you get a different access point to what you're feeling inside," Daniel said.


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A recent piece of Daniel's starts with the verse: "I am making stone soup for my son, I put a flint in my pot, and add a litre of Austerity, ask the government, could you add a second carrot, to my parcel, please?"

People have been “very appreciative” in response to his writing, Daniel added, as it articulates how they are feeling when they might struggle to express it for themselves.  

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In his next series, Daniel wants to focus on NHS heroes and their experiences over the past year to “give them a voice” and try to “put words to what seems to be their experience”. 

Daniel commended the “incredible” work of the Hackney libraries' Lockdown Poetry Workshop, coordinated by Jack Houston, which runs every Thursday evening at 6pm on Zoom.  

Although Daniel writes and shares his poetry regularly on his Facebook page, he says the workshop is for anyone who enjoys poetry and attendees do not have to write to join the session.  

He also added that the group allows for anyone to explore an interest in poetry.  

“There are seeds of creativity that people might have, but haven’t had time to water them before, and now there’s time," he said.

The workshop is a forum to read and discuss different poetry each week. When considering the limitations of a discussion group taking place on Zoom, Daniel said he thinks there is “less social pressure” and people have more time to consider their thoughts on the poetry in the discussion.   

If you would like to join the Lockdown Poetry Workshop, email jack.houston@hackney.gov.uk for more information.  

Read Daniel's poetry at https://www.facebook.com/skylewriting/

READ MORE: Community project helps mental health in Hackney with writing workshops

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