Poetry, music and celebrations at the library

As part of a three-day intensive, Jessica el Mal led a series of workshops, trips and celebrations last week, inviting women to connect with nature, plants and gardens through poetry, sound and music.

On Thursday, we started with a Poetry Breakfast. Jessica invited women to read through poems about nature and gardens in different languages and we discussed why we liked them over warming harrisa beans on toast, fruit and cream Kunafa.

On Friday we went on a day trip to Ness Botanic Gardens to explore the vast grounds and hear about plants from around the world, as well as record images and sounds along the way. Over a lunch of curried vegetable pasties, we shared more poems and created poetry books, copying out our favourite ones to keep.

On Saturday, our group brought all their children to the library to round up our time together with an after-opening hours celebration of music, poems, and food. Musician and vocalist Rita Kamale started with an energetic music session, and we transformed the Bootle Library’s pod into a quiet sanctuary for the women to record their selected poems in their native language with Yasmeen Soudani. The concluding celebration was purely blissful, with high-energy singing, dancing, and plenty of dishes to share (which we forgot to get any pictures of, because we were too busy eating it!)

Thanks to all the women (and little ones) who joined us, and artists who made it such a celebration of creativity.