I may not have been sharing much poetry here on my blog, but my past month has involved lots of poetry related tasks. I have been finishing off last edits on Teaching Poetry for Pleasure and Purpose, a resource for Australian teachers, which will be out in August through PETAA, the Primary English Teacher’s Association. With a blend of poems (my own and others) and practical ideas for teaching poetry in the primary school classroom, I am hoping it will be a handy resource for Australian teachers and help get more poetry into the hands and hearts of children.
Then, last weekend, I presented at the 56th International Conference of UKLA (The UK Literacy Association). How strange to be presenting from my loungeroom on a cold winter’s evening, to people from around the world. My session focussed on verse novels including my own, and how they can be used in the classroom.
The time differences made it difficult to attend all of the other sessions – most of them happened in the middle of the night, my time – but how lovely to be able to listen, where I could, to passionate educators all wanting to ensure every child has the best possible access to literature and literacy.
One session I did get to was a workshop run by Rebecca Simpson-Hargreaves, a UK based lecturer and fellow poetry advocate. In a 30 minute session, Rebecca gave attendees a taste of four different poetic forms – and even got us writing. Not a bad feat in such a short space of time.
One form that was new to me was the Hay(na)ku. You’ll find a great explanation, including the history of the form, here. Simply, though, a hay(na)ku is a three line poem with just six words – one on the first line, two on the second and three on the third. Simple, huh? Well, yes and no – because of course with so few words you have to choose carefully.
Here was my first attempt, during the workshop:
mud to me.
(This was a little tongue in cheek – in a previous exercise we had to argue for or against mushrooms, and so when it came to this exercise, my mind was still working on that).
Afterwards, I wanted to try again, and, because my whole day had been about poetry, the topic seemed obvious. So, here’s my second attempt:
page to heart.
And, much later still my third attempt, after reflecting on the differences of this online conference versus the in person version, initially scheduled to be in Oxford but, of course, cancelled. because of the pandemic.
without leaving home.
You know what else can happen without leaving home? Poetry Friday! Today’s roundup of poetry goodness is hosted by Margaret. Head over there and read her touching poem written during the Covid 19 lockdowns. And then, why don’t you try your hand at a hay(na)ku of your own?