One of the best things about working as a creative writing facilitator, is the opportunity to mentor other writers. Although I was able to cut down on teaching commitments thanks to having received the Major Artist Award from the ACNI last year, I was keen to keep on the mentorship aspect of my work and I am currently working one-to-one with three individual poets, all at different stages of their careers. Fortunately it is something that is possible to do on-line, so we’ve been able to continue working during lockdown and beyond.
It is always exciting to receive new work from them and to be able to discuss not only the work itself, but also – influences, form, technique, inspiration – all the elements of writing a poem. These relationships between mentor and mentee are a two way process and I always learn something myself. It allows me to think about poetry in a more abstract way and is good for my own practice. The three poets I am working with at the moment are very different in style, but the one thing they have in common is their commitment to learning and to hard work; that is both exciting and motivating to see.
It’s a real pleasure when someone I am mentoring has a success with their work, whether it is getting something published, winning a competition, or simply feeling more confident in their writing.