It was a great honour and enormous fun to facilitate poetry workshops for vibrant young people, at the ALEA, Meanjin at Griffith University, Mount Gravatt, on July the 4th 2019.
The participants varied in their experience and love of poetry, but many had learnt or attempted something new with poetry by the end of the workshops.
The day began with a welcome to country, acknowledgment, from Gregg Dreise for about eighty young people. He invites audience participation in his welcomes and keeps everyone on their toes in an engaging way.
This was followed by a key note presentation from Morris Gleitzman, talking about the discovery of the ‘secret of writing’ through reading first lines in the library.
I won’t tell you this secret, in case you have a chance to hear Morris speak on it, and be captivated by this mystery. You might find you already know it.
Then the participants, aged from 9 to 15, of about 20 students in each group, went to do a workshop with the authors in these smaller groups. They meet with Candice Lemon Scott on Short Story and inspirations from the environment, Gregg Dreise on Storytelling and Story Boarding, Katrin Deiling on the art of illustration with some practical work in painting, and me on poetry, photographic inspirations, and forms like the Rengu, Golden Shovel, and writing inspired by art or visual images. We did a bit of cliche busting as well, and looked at the search to be original and memorable when you write.
We spent time in some of the breaks chatting with any participants and signing books if they wished to purchase any to take home. My poetry book for children is readily available in many of the Brisbane public libraries, and quite a few schools have purchased it as well. My main goal is for young people to realise that there are so many kinds of poetry – there is form to suit every kind of personality, from the confident performer, to the quiet meditative soul who would rather you read their poem when they are not sitting there.
At the end of the day, some of the students, performed their work. I was delighted to hear some talented young poets read works to make you either laugh, think deeply, or be enchanted by the magic of their metre and metaphors.
I also read some of their works during sessions, for those quieter pieces, that are not designed for performance. And was delighted that some students chose to write collaboratively and create renga.
A huge thank you to ALEA Meanjin for the fabulous hosting during the day, and looking after all the presenters and participants so beautifully.
You can find out more about ALEA and their goals on their facebook page
You can also view more photographs here
And here is the beautiful poster that Katrin Dreiling designed for the event!