Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Poetry Workshop for Teens

I've agreed to run a poetry workshop for teens (about 15, 16 years old) and am wondering if I've bitten off more than I can chew. I usually teach primary or adults.

I'm worrying that:
- teenagers don't like poetry
- they may not want to be there
- they won't listen
- they'll be bigger than me
- etc etc

Don't get me wrong, I'm not scared of them but scared of boring them and making them hate poetry more than they do already. I had a terrible English teacher in school (hello Mrs Harris) and she put me off poetry for decades (and the Brontes for life)

I was thinking about metaphors. See Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy and write about how you feel without saying how you feel.

Or Write a How To poem

- how to fly
- how to disappear
- how to make someone fall in love with you
- how to talk to cats
- how to win X-factor

Or What matters to you (why)

Any other ideas? I'm getting desperate.


Totalfeckineejit said...

Have you thought of feigning illness and/or leaving the country? Failing that get them to write about what they hate,they mightn't like anything but teenagers always hate something, or everything.Get them to write a poem about hating poetry.

Michael Farry said...

If this is part of a school day they will look on it as a delightful distraction and you are on a winner. Get them working straight away. No lectures, explanations, readings to start with. Get them to come up with unusual, unexpected, favourite words, ideas, similes, phrases to use in poems.


Walk in and recite This Be Verse. You'll have them at: 'They fuck you up your Mum and Dad'. They'll love you!

Jessica Maybury said...

I think that maybe if it's a workshop it might be voluntary attendance? Maybe not though. There's a poem by Sylvia Plath (hello I'm a cliche) called Metaphors that might be cool to use to show how poetry can make people look at things differently? Just a thought.

Uiscebot said...

Get them to write about the most beautiful thing they've ever seen or that has ever happened to them. It always delivers. Do an icebreaker too. Poetry workshops are much easier than fiction ones i find. There's so much scope.

Emerging Writer said...

Thanks for all your great ideas. I probably have enough for a series of workshops. You're so generous and creative, the lot of you.