East London Community Centre
Eva Salzman has published two volumes of poetry, 'Bargain with the Watchman' (Oxford University Press) and 'The English Earthquake' (Bloodaxe).
The Bromley By Bow Centre in East London is an unusual sort of community centre in that it combines a health centre, various vocational classes, a youth project and also integrates the arts with all of this - through workshops and artists in residence.
During my placement, I was primarily working with the Youth Project, headed by Clare Horsfall who had already set up a variety of poetry workshops even before having the input of a writer. My remit was very flexible, to fit in with the ethos of the centre; needless to say, this was fine with me, since this attitude is much more conducive to creative work, which often develops organically. Also, it was my first experience of a residency where my own work was deemed a contribution to the place, and this certainly spurred me on to do more of everything.
Among the work I did was working with the younger poetry group and a teenage group, as well as going around the centre and making contact with other groups and volunteers. I did a couple of sessions with a long-standing adult group, outside the Youth Project, which had arisen from a silk-screening project run by Sister Helen, who had already incorporated some word-based projects, some printed in booklets, as well as on some extraordinarily beautiful pieces of silk-screening. I also did a session with the men's Bengali English-speaking group - a kind of improvised session of some word based games and chat about being a writer, since they seemed interested in what this entailed. I wrote a riddle poem to be used in this session and others, and also wrote other things tied into various aspects of the centre.
The residency culminated in a reading/party, attended by all ages and all groups.
chosen by Eva Salzman for the Times Educational Supplement - Young Poet