Monday, February 23, 2009

Poets Poeting

I'm about to fly off to Perth to take part in the Apropos Poetry Festival, which is a lead-in event to the Perth Writers' Festival. I'm really looking forward to it, not least because it seems like an awfully long time since I've been able to focus on some poeting, i.e. writing, reading, talking, thinking and dreaming poetry. The program looks interesting, and tackles some of the current "issues" such as whether you can or should make a living out of poetry, poetry in schools, and simply studying how to write better poems.

I'm teaching two workshops - one on writing poetry for kids, and the other on "what poetry can do for you". This latter class sounds a bit vague perhaps, but I see a lot of writing for kids that goes for the basics, getting the story moving fast, the plot pacy and the characters snappy. I'm going to try to encourage participants to look at how to write fiction more poetically, how to take a first draft and apply some great language skills as part of revision. Writers of all genres and forms might find it useful. If you live in or near Perth, come along and join in!

I will no doubt have to admit to those who live in WA that I haven't been to Perth since 1976. And even then, it was a stopover on my way to South Africa. My friend and I stayed in a hotel for one night, and it happened to be the night the hotel caught on fire (somebody's air conditioning unit blew up). I have never been known for my elegant clothing, least of all where nightwear is concerned, and for some reason I'd bought what I considered to be a "sensible" nightie. As I filed down the stairs and out of the hotel, a kindly fireman told me "Gee, you'll be able to write about this at school tomorrow." Hmph!

On Thursday afternoon, I'll be taking part in a panel discussion on Poetry in Education - what are we doing about poetry in schools? Anything? I've been doing some research this week and the answer seems to be Not Much. But I've heard about some great projects happening in WA so hopefully I'll report back on this next week. I can't wait to fill my head with new ideas and inspirations, and fill some pages with writing.

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