Interview: Poetry Together with Ned and Joss

In our series of blogs in the run-up to the competition deadline, we look at different people’s attempts at writing Poetry Together. Ned and Joss are brothers. They kindly came in to share their experience and tips on writing Poetry Together. Ned is 21 and is completing an MA in International Relations at Sheffield University. Joss is 12 and is in year 7 at St Thomas More school in Buxton. Here is their story on how they wrote their poem for the competition. A big thanks to both of them for taking the time to do this!

Families getting together…

Joss: We started with the subject, which was loneliness.

Ned: We were thinking of our grandmother who’s got dementia and we thought that was an important theme. They always say you should write about something you know about. Next, we thought about how we were going to link two different pieces of writing together. We felt they can’t be too different, it has to be the same voice but maybe over a period of time, so you can still have two distinct voices in a way.

Joss: The voice I took on was when our grandma was younger, and Ned took on the present, how she’s feeling now. We wrote it separately and then put the two pieces together.

Ned: After that we saw a few inconsistencies and changed things.

Joss: For instance, I like to write in rhyme, but Ned doesn’t like to rhyme. In the end, he had to make his part of it rhyme to compliment mine.

Ned: And there were other simple things, like changing some of the names.

Joss: I think you can still tell that two people wrote it, because each voice shows a different view.

Ned: I would say you can’t tell the difference to be honest.

On writing poetry together…

Joss: I enjoy writing on my own more because I can focus on what I think and don’t have to take account of another person’s view.

Ned: I think if I’d have written it all by self I’d have done it all in the present. It was good to have some else write the other piece to get a different angle on it. Because we have the same grandparent, this poem was able to very personal. Writing with some who is not my brother would have meant perhaps that we needed to write about something more general. It would have been a different poem.

Joss: Quite a lot of people know what dementia is like, so other people can relate to it too.

Ned: I remember reading Joss’s poem and thinking this will go really well together> you know, we went and wrote completely different things. I thought we might have to change quite a lot, but in the end it was only a few names and things like that. Because there is that shared experience, it ended up fitting together well.

Getting started…

Ned: We just strated by writing some similes and metaphors, writing acrostic poems, generating ideas. Just brainstorming really, just our first idea. That would be a good place to start. Think about things that are personal to you.

Joss: We did an exercise ach writing a line, and we had to make the fit to each other. Each line had to make sense with the other line. We didn’t end up using any of the exercises. It was quite different in the beginning to what we actually finished with.


‘Poetry Together’ is a brand new cross-generational competition that invites children and young people to pair up with a parent, grandparent, carer, older sibling or friend, to share their ideas and create brand new poetry. To find out more and enter, visit the Poetry Together page. The competition is free to enter, the competition is deadline:  Friday April 29th 2016


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