Showing posts from June, 2013

Writing Poetry from Pictures

To ground the writing of  poetry in observation, and to demonstrate how imagination can arise from the simple art of looking try bringing copies of a picture, or a series of pictures to class and pass them out to students. The pictures need to be complex enough to stimulate observation and be open to various interpretation. Surrealist painting work well. Ask students to look closely at the picture and ‘walk around inside’ for a while. To provide a viewing lens, you could ask students to: Pretend to be something in the picture Walk into the picture and see what happens Use comparisons to connect elements of the picture with other things Use a poetic form you know already as a launching pad for poetry based on the scene in the picture. Create a dialogue between elements in the picture

Poetry Is Not For WIMPS

As a poet and an educator I am driven by a desire to have poetry viewed as consumer friendly by young people. I want them to enjoy the sheer magic of words the way I do. I want to share my love of language in the hope that they will come to know poetry as one does a friend. What concerns me is that in too many classrooms the teaching of poetry has been reduced to a clinical examination. The poem as autopsy. The dis-aggregation of wondrous words by teachers who feel little empathy with the poet’s desire just to be shared. Moira Robinson, my former neighbour,  in her book Making My Toenails Twinkle , reminds us that sometimes we miss the point of poetry when she states, ‘ If we are going to start defining poetry by the number of times spring daffodils are mentioned, or by measuring its degree of seriousness on some poetic Richter scale, we will finish up with nervous breakdowns.’ If we truly want our students to appreciate poetry to the point that they themselves can gain s

Reading, Writing and Real Life Connections.

Life and Literature enacted a strong connection for me recently as I vacationed on Bali at Candi Dasa. I stood on the beach at Pantai Pituh and just off shore was a small island. An island that bore a strong resemblance to the island depicted in Margaret Wild's beautiful picutre story book, 'Tanglewood.' Such a special moment.  I immediately captured the scene with my camera. The eye of the writer and the mind of the reader working in harmony.  What a magical connection. Check it out and see if you agree.  Small island offshore from Pantai Pituh, near Candi Dasa, Bali, Indonesia

Slice of Life Tuesday-The Challenge Facing The People of Gili Trawangan

I have just spent a few days on a small island off Lombok called, Gili Trawangan. It was great to have a few days to unwind after some hectic work in recent months. As the fog in my head receded, the words began to flow and spill across my notebook pages. I embraced this experience. It was like a curtain being drawn back and revealing something exciting to the eye, the ear,  and the heart of the writer within. The pace of this small coral atoll requires the visitor to adapt to a slower pace. I had no cause to resist. There are no cars allowed on Gili Trawangan. No motorbikes, No Trucks. In fact, the road that encompasses the entire island is little more than a dusty track (8 kilometres in total) in most parts and requires attentive navigation.  Bicycles are a favoured form of transport here. Many of the available tourist residences on the island offer- FREE BICYCLES as an incentive.   Vicki and I clambered onto bicycles and joined the throng of riders. It’s hot dry work h