I’m a bit of a zumba bore but I can only counter that my whole life goes better if I regularly attend classes where we move to a mixture of dance numbers. It’s the opposite of meditation where the objective is to sit extremely still in silence but both seem to be essential to my wellbeing.  I am struck by how, allegedly, in societies where shamans are a source of advice, the questions that are asked of a depressed person concern how recently they danced, sang or sat in silence – and why and when they might have stopped.

One of my zumba teachers sometimes stops and looks at the room of fifty women keeping up, or not, and exclaims in mock-astonishment, ‘One move, so many variations …’.

So zumba, so poetry.  It’s autumn, a time of reflecting on harvests, literal and metaphorical (as beautifully described in Roselle Angwin’s blog today).  I’m still reflecting on the Ty Newydd course where, in a very wide-ranging talk, Larry Butler quoted Louis Macneice’s famous poem, Snow.

It’s an intensely physical, sensory poem and the lines, ‘the drunkenness of things being various’ reflects so much of poetry therapy.

Other reflections.  I was a finalist in the Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year competition last week and it’s an understatement to say that the poems selected were varied.  Here comes an orange, here comes a banana, oh, and there’s a tin of biscuits and a bottle of wine.  A feast.

And last month, we launched ‘Climbing the Sky in Colours’, a small selection of poems written during the forty weeks of Wise Words for Wellbeing held at Canterbury’s Beaney House of Art and Knowledge.  Every week, we’d read a poem closely and write in response.  One poem, so many varied responses.  You can buy it here and all proceeds go to Workers of Art who managed the project.


I was writing up an evaluation of the project and came across this video clip online of one of the participants talking about the group.  For some reason, I’d never seen it before and it cheered me up as much as dancing does!  Thank you Danika …

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