What's Happening To Our Young Poets?

Recurring debates on important poetry topics.
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keats
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What's Happening To Our Young Poets?

Post by keats » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:13 am

I have always perceived the Tamworth Performance Competition to be the most prestigious award in Australian Bush Poetry, probably for the fact that most of our top competitors flock there, and so you must beat the best of the best. Judging is also independant from the ABPA and should stay that way. But what of our young Poets? Country Energy and Tamworth Writers finally introduced a childrens section and how many entries? 1. Just like the Queensland Championships and 1 more than at a lot of comps I have been to in the past. I think we may have to address this pretty seriously in the future. I know Jye. who was the only entrant at Tamworth, and also know that he would give a lot of our adult poets a decent run for their money. But he is a bit disappointed and a bit embarrassed about taking the award by default. As I said, I have seen this too frequently and it has actually put some of the one entry 'winners' off returning. No competition - how does one gauge oneself? I don't have the answer, even though I spend a lot of times in schools, both primary and secondary. So do a lot of other poets such as Noel Stellard and Marco Gliori. So what is the answer in bringing the kids into bush poetry? I would love to hear the ideas of others and may get Manfred to move this to the General Poetry Discussion section if others are interested in throwing around ideas.

Neville Briggs
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Re: What's Happening To Our Young Poets?

Post by Neville Briggs » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:19 am

That's certainly a disappointing bit of info. Keats.

I don't have the answers, only these thoughts,



I think we need to realise what a daunting experience it is for any person , let alone a young person, to stand up in front of an audience and do a speaking presentation.

I must admit that I am losing interest in competitions, there is something in the nature of these events that is counterproductive. The pressure of memorisation is one, it makes presenting a poem an agonising experience for some, why should we have to subject ourselves to that discomfort. Where's the enjoyment in the poetry for poetry's sake ? And I suspect young people are the first to baulk at art being made into an obstacle race.


I wonder if it would help if there were events organised to include young people which were not competitions but occasions for performance without the pressure of assessment ( maybe they get enough of that at school).
Last edited by Neville Briggs on Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Neville
" Prose is description, poetry is presence " Les Murray.

manfredvijars

Re: What's Happening To Our Young Poets?

Post by manfredvijars » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:32 am

Glad you brought this up Neil, we need a wider debate on this topic.


Country Energy (a great supporter of Bush Poetry) contacted Jan Morris mid December with support for hosting a children's performance competition. Given the concerns over possible low attandance due to the short notice, to their credit Jan Morris and Country Energy soldiered on. And I believe Country Energy committed to the Children's programme for next year.

For members information, I've included correspondence between Jan and myself.
With a bit more preparation time the Country Energy Tamworth Children's Performance Competition for 2012 will be a success.

____________________________________________________________

Thanks, Manfred. I think we have done all we can do. Now we just have to wait and see what happens. Thanks for all your help, Jan On 05/01/2011, at 11:09 PM, Manfred wrote:

> Hi Jan, this is what was put up on the ABPA Website ...
> http://www.abpa.org.au/
>
>
> CALLING ALL PARENTS
> How would you like your child to be the winner of the very first
> COUNTRY ENERGY CHILDREN'S BUSH POETRY COMPETITION?"
> There are still some spots available in the Inaugural COUNTRY ENERGY
> CHILDREN'S BUSH POETRY COMPETITION for the 17th January 2010 The Age
> groups are, up to 11 and, 11 - 15 years of age.
> Only TWO categories for the competition, Original and Traditional.
> The venue is at St Edwards Hall, Hillvue Rd, South Tamworth starting
> at 8.30 am.
> For more information contact janmorris@northnet.com.au or send a SSAE
> to PO Box 3001, West Tamworth NSW 2340.
>
>
>
> Cheers,
>
> Manfred.
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jan Morris [mailto:janmorris@northnet.com.au]
> Sent: Wednesday, 5 January 2011 3:19 PM
> To: Manfred
> Subject: Re: Tamworth Children's competition
>
> Hi Manfred,
>
> The information is already on the ABPA website. But is it possible to add
> something like " The Tamworth Poetry Reading Group is still looking
> for entries for its inaugural Children's Bush Poetry Competition which
> is generously being sponsored by Country Energy. There are sections
> for Age up to 11 and 11 to 15, and there are 2 sections in each age
> group, Original and Traditional.
> The competition will be held on Monday 17 January at St Edwards Hall,
> Hillvue Rd, South Tamworth starting at 8.30 am.
> So come on kids, how would you like to be the winner of the very
> first COUNTRY ENERGY CHILDREN'S BUSH POETRY COMPETITION?"
>
> How's that? Did I get carried away? Can you put that on?
> Jan
>
>
> On 05/01/2011, at 1:44 PM, Manfred wrote:
>
>> Jan, we can put a notice on the ABPA home page ... what would you
>> like it to say ???
>>
>> Cheers,
>>
>> Manfred.
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Jan Morris [mailto:janmorris@northnet.com.au]
>> Sent: Tuesday, 4 January 2011 8:10 PM
>> To: Frank Daniel; Manfred
>> Subject: Tamworth Children's competition
>>
>> Hi,
>>
>> Just thought I'd share with you my concerns that the children's comp
>> will not be a goer. So far, we have no entries, despite everyone's
>> enthusiasm at the idea. We will turn up at the venue of the Monday
>> in case we have people turn up, and I will look at it again next
>> year, bearing in mind that the first Tamworth Bush Poetry Competition
>> had 4 entrants, from what I've heard. Perhaps we started too late, or
>> perhaps the date is too early in the week. Lots of people don't turn
>> up till later in the week.
>>
>> Anyway, I'm stressing out a bit about it. Also, Cliff had a bad fall
>> on Christmas Day and will take a lot of healing. He tore the tendon
>> from his kneecap and, as it is all shredded, it was hard to reattach.
>> So I am nursemaid as well as competition organiser.
>>
>> Anyway, I'm not whinging, just need to share the load a bit.
>>
>> Looking forward to seeing all my bush poet friends,
>>
>> Jan

william williams

Re: What's Happening To Our Young Poets?

Post by william williams » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:04 am

Hi Neville and Keats. Here is a thought. Memorizing Poems or short stories can be a daunting task as we all know to well. Now children being young actors in many ways, could they be enticed to read there favourite piece aloud only using their voice to try and instil the life, movement and action into the poem with out getting up in front of the class or on stage in an effort to alleviate that daunting task of attracting attention to them selves until they are more confident of doing that as many a child, and adults as well have that inner fear of bringing attention to them selves.

We have the ability, the confidence which we learnt as time goes on? But have they, as baby steps forward are better than no steps forward at all lets try to kid them into having a go

remember this is only a thought

BW

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keats
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Re: What's Happening To Our Young Poets?

Post by keats » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:52 am

Now this is exactly the kind of response I was hoping for! Martyboy, great comment about the relevance of Traditional Poetry. As much as I would prefer kids to know of the works of our Poetry forefathers over English Poetry (As I suffered in school!), my workshops focus on exactly what you are saying and we write poems about today's Australia, situations common to the kids and the results are mind blowing!

Given the short organisational time, Manfred, this is something I have encountered before and it is great that they are going to soldier on with it.

Making poetry fun to participate in, minimum stress on the kids performing. I love the ideas flowing in. Keep them coming. Nobody can be wrong, just adding great ideas and avenues.

Thanks

Neville Briggs
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Re: What's Happening To Our Young Poets?

Post by Neville Briggs » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:32 pm

I agree with what you are doing Neil about contemporary themes and I agree with what Marty has said ( we're in agreement again :o ) .

Though just for your contemplation, recently I ran a childrens' poetry workshop which was very well attended and received. I invited the children to recite a poem of their own choosing. One young lady recited a couple of verses of The Ballad of the Drover by Henry Lawson and another recited Daffodils by Wordsworth !
So I think its true to say that Australian children cherish a connection to the historic voice of our poetry but I also think it is true that to engage their interest and support in the long run they have to be shown how to make poetry as their own voice of their own experience.
We could have a written competition for poems in text messaging.

Please don't get your backs up, I mean this to be constructive, but perhaps in the advertising of a childrens comp it might be better to use some sort of " funky " line rather than something like Calling All Parents. Do you know what I mean.
My grandaughter sends in competition entries to the Sunday Telegraph paper from a page which is headed Funday Telegraph, a page designed to directly appeal to children, not to engage parents support.
In the advertising for my childrens workshop ( sorry about the self reference again ) the pamphlet had written on it. Do you want to know what a Triatowontogongolope is ? Do you want to learn how to amaze your friends by reciting you own funny stories ? And so on.
We certainly got a good response to that pamphlet and support from parents.

I think the issue of suitable prizes is also something to give a lot of thought to.
An IPOd for first prize ?? prepaid mobile phone account ? :)

Maybe as one of my colleagues used to say " the answer is..there's no answer "
Neville
" Prose is description, poetry is presence " Les Murray.

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Maureen K Clifford
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Re: What's Happening To Our Young Poets?

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:57 pm

Hi Neal - The kids today all seem to be into rap, hip hop and poppin - a combination of words and dance - often thrown together randomly where ever a group of them meet up and seems always to draw crowds of kids like magnets. Also seems to be very popular on the 'Idol' shows and on Youtube - so maybe that is a starting point.

Love it or hate it it is urban poetry on the run, does have rhyme and rhythm which is a good starting point. The lyrics some times could do with some cleaning up as far as the language used goes but then that is how kids today seem to speak and they seem to relate to it??? and their rappin is about what affects them, what is important to them -sex ,drugs but not rock and roll :lol:

Maybe some kind of Bush Rap contest would appeal - stranger things have happened

Cheers

Maureen
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http://scribblybarkpoetry.blogspot.com.au/


I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

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keats
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Re: What's Happening To Our Young Poets?

Post by keats » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:55 pm

Good points there Neville. Makes me think that perhaps once we engage the young ones attention with verse on topics they see as familiar, then we could wet their appetite with the classics. Thinking back, that is how I grew into poetry from playing in Heavy metal and punk Rock bands (no more reference to this is ever to be made!!!!!!). I found the more I wrote and heard the likes of Bob Miller and Charlie Marshall recite, then the more I became addicted and started reading as much traditional poetry as I could find. Although this doesn't reflect in my performance poetry, it is certainly a base for my writing.

Maureen, Hip Hop poetry is by no means an untouched area. Such poets as Murray Hartin, Marco Gliori, Noel Stellard and Brad Maclean have used this style and it has been received better by the poetry audiences we attract than by the kids!! lol

All good food for thought here.

Kym

Re: What's Happening To Our Young Poets?

Post by Kym » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:07 am

I think that aiming at the general kid population is aiming at too large a target. Most kids think poetry is sooo not cool. You need to aim your focus on kids who are already interested in stage and performing - like Eisteddfod kids. They already have whatever it takes to ignore the jeers of peers and get up on stage and good on 'em for that.

And I agree with whoever it was that said poetry needs to be fun for them. The little school my kids went to had a stage morning every Friday and the "boring" poems soon had the kids picking their noses whereas the funny ones got their attention and they talked about it at morning tea and lunch. The poem I remember most, and the one that got MY attention to swing towards bush poetry was Marco's poem "Granny and the Snake". I was wide-eyed with interest and thought "that's what I wanna do ..." and I've been hooked ever since.

Kids like laughing, let 'em laugh. Maturity will drag them over to the serious side of poetry but you've gotta get 'em on board first.

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Re: What's Happening To Our Young Poets?

Post by Zondrae » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:38 am

G'day,
For my two bobs worth. I have offered to go to schools and spend time in classrooms. Not only presenting some poetry but also to guide and assist with the writing poetry. I said I was prepared to come once a week for three or four weeks if they wanted, - til the children were happy with their poems. Evey school I approached knocked back the offer. Finally I had one state school teacher tell me that poetry in general made up only 7% of the English cariculum and Bush or rhyming poetry only a quarter of this.
Perhaps we should be addressing the Education Department.
Zondrae King
a woman of words

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