Many thanks to the Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre for hosting a day that focused on poetry in schools on Monday. A.J. Betts and J.P. Quinton, followed by Scott-Patrick Mitchell and Caroline Caddy, spoke to high school students about poetry and worked with them to produce poems of their own. The engagement and energy of the 80 odd participants was a joy to behold.
In the early evening, Roland Leach, head of English at PLC and proprietor of Sunline Press, joined John Mateer and Scott-Patrick Mitchell to present a professional development session for teachers entitled Practical Poetry. In this presentation, a spectrum of possibilities was canvassed – from consideration of poetry as something that originates in the spoken word, to practical tips and in-class exercises, to self-publication and audience creation through zines, chapbooks & anthologies. Poetry is always, said John Mateer, a question of how one chooses to order the words; any choice is historical, and the potential for nuance and emphasis diverse and political.
This was a very well-attended session. The enthusiasm for poetry in schools, amongst educators and practitioners, feels as bright and vibrant and full of potential as the Western Australian poetry scene beyond.
Georgia Richter, Fremantle Press Poetry Publisher