On Tuesday morning, creative writer Dean Parkin visited the 60+ Club in downtown Lowestoft to chat with members about the area’s sea heritage and to receive their help devising a short poem about their memories. To get people talking, we brought along two reminiscence boxes featuring objects from the Lowestoft Maritime Museum, such as old photographs of skippers, knitting needles and fishing nets of various sizes and heavy duty raincoats, amongst others.
Most of the people in attendance had fathers or older siblings who worked in the fishing industry years ago, so we heard many expert accounts of what each of the tools in the box were used for and even watched demonstrations of how to tie various fishing knots!
After speaking to individuals and small groups to hear about their memories of Lowestoft’s fishing heyday, Dean asked the whole group to help him write a poem all at once. There was a bit of enthusiastic chaos, with people shouting out words and ideas, but by putting together phrases and snippets of memories from all the participants, a poem slowly emerged, called That’s What the Sea Is.
After a rousing group performance, it was time for lunch.
This poem, and other poems written by other local groups, will be incorporated into the music and word performances on Friday aboard the Mincarlo and outside the Marina Theatre.
This project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Suffolk Community Foundation Michael Ben Howes Fund.