Orode Faka, a Nigerian theatre artist, volunteered at both poetry projects at Putney Library. Having taught creative arts projects mainly with children and young people, she was keen to attend the training for upskilling.
“I was fascinated. I had an open mind.” Orode loved working with the participants, finding their responses often short but insightful, and never irrelevant. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.”Her method was to ask questions so that participants’ responses became the poem. Guided by poet Cheryl Moskowitz, she worked with participants to build up their poetry, to arrange their phrases, their words, so that they flowed. “I read it for her and she would cry, made me feel weepy. Hearing everyone else’s poems as well. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had as an artist. “
Appreciating the difference between teaching children who are learning and people with dementia who have skills but need encouragement to revive them, Orode has sent information about the poetry workshops to friends and relatives in Nigeria where she would like to start a project working with people in the early stages of dementia and their carers.