Poetry by Heart finals

IMG_0419I very much enjoyed the Poetry by Heart finals at Homerton College, Cambridge last weekend – it was powerful, hearing all those poems read so brilliantly, and the atmosphere was electric by the end of the afternoon.

I led writing workshops with the finalists and their accompanying adults (teachers and parents). The students wrote really well, as I thought they might, having spent so much time learning and thinking about poems. They had a real feeling for what they were writing. It was also good to hear what the adults wrote. It’s so interesting leading workshops with people who haven’t written before, or at least not since school. One of the adults said to me, after a workshop, that she lived with a writer, and, although she understood what he was doing, and could appreciate his work, she could never really understand why he did it, why he wrote, until now.

Making Poetry Happen

9781472510266This has just arrived through the letterbox, with my chapter ‘Inspiring Young People to Write Poems’. Great to be in such good company. Thanks to the editors: Sue Dymoke, Anthony Wilson, Andrew Lambirth and Myra Barrs. Details of the book are here. It needs to be read – it truly could transform the way in which poetry is taught in the classroom.

Swindon Festival of Poetry

Great to be part of Swindon Festival of Poetry last weekend. Hilda Sheehan and her team did a really good job. The atmosphere was amazing and I couldn’t have hoped for a better welcome and hospitality. It felt like an inland Aldburgh, with the number of American poets reading, and the genuine warmth of the organisers. Every reading felt like a highlight, and Lower Shaw Farm is a fabulous setting.