Off to Cullen tomorrow to lead a primary school workshop. The pupils have been learning about WWII and asked if I’d help them create poetry on the subject. So far, they’ve mostly been learning about the Home Front, so as a ‘war baby’ I’ll talk about my own memories, which are mostly post-war, I have to admit. I’ll mention my upbringing, with my father being in Egypt with the RAF, and how I didn’t really see much of him until I was four or five. I wondered if they’d touched on the Anne Frank diaries, and I’m told they’re going to be dealing with that next term. I will tell them, as I think I have to, about the Holocaust – what we knew at the time, and what we’ve learned since. I’ll talk about my own trips to Germany and Japan, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia.
I’ll look at several different types of poetry – chants, lists, narratives, acrostics, diaries, songs and performance pieces, and encourage them to try to assemble a poem out of their knowledge and our brief chat.
My final session as Moray’s Poet Partner will be with a mental health group, and we’re trying to organise that at the moment. It’s a setting I enjoy working in, but this, like the schools work, needs some kind of continuation to really succeed. I’m hoping that a plenary session on the Poet Partnerships will find some kind of mechanism to give longer-term support for creativity in communities.
Here’s a piece of shameless promotion: On National Poetry Day (Thursday) I’ll be announcing my author line-up for Calder Wood Press in 2010. The website now has details on the final two books for 2009.