Today I have sent the following email to numerous children’s poets and poetry lovers:
‘Through the new blog site, Australian Children’s Poetry (which now has over 8,500 hits), I am trying to revitalise poetry in Australia, starting with poetry in schools. You might have read https://australianchildrenspoetry.com.au/articles/why-are-booksellers-afraid-of-childrens-poetry/ and the responses from poet Stephen Whiteside and myself, Di Bates.
Here’s a thought: if all of us with a love of and connection to Australian children’s poetry united, we might just put poetry and Australian children, teachers, publishers and booksellers on the same page. United, we can be a powerful force! We can bring poetry into schools and into bookshops. We can exert pressure on organisations such as the CBCA to fund prizes, competitions and/or otherwise promote poetry.
So, what I’m asking you today is for you to consider approaching school/s to offer to present a poetry reading. Have you done this before? Why not now? Then, send an article to me at firstname.lastname@example.org about your experience and the responses from children and teachers.
Your articles will be posted on the Australian Children’s Poetry blog site and then the CBCA and Australian children’s publishers will be notified that there is the beginning of a groundswell…
Am I being too optimistic? What do you think? Do you want to be part of the Poetry Revolution?’
Subsequent to sending this email, I’ve had an undertaking from our Children’s Laureate Jackie French that she would blog it on her website www.childrenslaureate.org.au and post it in her newsletter. (Thanks, wonderful Jackie!)
Poet and verse novelist Sherryl Clark wrote that she is undertaking a May Gibbs residency in Brisbane in May, part of which is presenting workshops in schools. Initially, when Sherryl suggested poetry workshops, the State Library thought that maybe there wouldn’t be enough interest and that she should offer story writing as well. Sherryl recently received a draft schedule and four of the five schools requested poetry!
You don’t have to be a poet to present a poetry reading! If you are keen to promote poetry in schools, find a half hours’ worth of poems (preferably Australian) that you think children would love to hear recited, and then contact your local school and offer to do a reading.
Become a part of the Australian children’s poetry revolution!