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Showing posts from June, 2015

Poetry Resources For Young Poets

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A recent request for poetry resources for primary students has prompted me to consider some of the resources I use for this age group. 
I have developed an extensive list of resources over the years. I keep many of these books in my poet’s suitcase.http://alanjwrightpoetrypizzazz.blogspot.com.au/2008/09/poets-suitcase.html  and regularly share these resources as an initial poetry tasting with students. The idea behind this approach is based on the belief that young poets need to read a lot of poetry in order to successfully embark upon the writing of poetry. I want to do more than immerse them in poetry, I want to ‘dunk’ them in poetry and all it involves.
An observant young poet told me this week after spending an hour investigating and researching a plethora of poetic forms, - ‘When you write poetry, you can make your own rules, but then you have to stick to them.’ This is the kind of awareness we need to develop among our inexperienced poets.
So, here is a recently updated list of s…

Helping Student Writers Make The Most of Their Notebooks

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Writer Joan Didion said our (writer’s) notebooks give us away. We are revealed by the contents. Our notebooks are a place to collect and then take those collected items and use them to spark further original writing. As Ralph Fletcher, writer and educator reminds us, we use our notebooks to breathe in (collect) and breathe out (generate).

With these thoughts ringing in my ears, I envisage notebooks brimming with words and ideas across a range of subjects and genres. The notebook is a place to experiment, take risks, make important discoveries or excavate memories and ideas from deep within. It can be a place to have fun with words.

So why is it that in many classrooms when students take out their notebooks the pages reveal a picture far removed from the images I have just outlined?Why does one get the impression that the notebook in these school settings is only realizing a small part of its potential?

Why is the critical ingredient –‘writing,’ so sadly lacking as to be almost missing in…

Exploring Themes in Poetry With Emerging Writers

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There is so much more to poetry than haiku and acrostics. Yet, so many young poets never get to experience the rich breadth of poetry beyond these highly structured forms. Why?
Primarily, it’s about their teachers comfort levels with poetry. We often teach to what we know, meaning that being adventurous and taking young poets into new realms is not part of the poetic landscape for many. This sells young poets and poetry itself short.
Last week I had the pleasure to again work with a group of young poets from Derrimut Primary School grade 5/6 in Melbourne’s west. We have been exploring patterns and repetition in poetry. We have explored personification as a literary device to develop the writing of poetry. We delved into the idea of writing through a mask to provide inanimate and animate entities with a voice. They told stories in words from their own perspective.
On this occasion we again went to the edges and began to explore poetry through themes. We discussed a range of possible theme…