The Art of Writing

The Art of Writing was written by Kate Clanchy


These are lesson plans and suggestions for poetry workshops for students aged 8-19. They are all road tested: they all derive from workshops I’ve run over the last ten years in a multicultural school in East Oxford. There are accompanying video and poems to photocopy too, but please don’t take any of these elements as compulsory. To write a poem with a class the main ingredients are your enthusiasm, a good poem to read and share together, and some time.

How much time you have will determine how many of these ideas you might like to use. If you have a single joint session, you could try out the Surrealists Game with a translation follow-up activity. If you have two joint sessions, you could follow up with the ghazal exercises. Teachers in both centres could use the other ideas in separate sessions with their own students and share the results.

If you are working with Primary pupils, you will probably find the Feelings/Colours/Food Game most suitable, followed up with the Magic Box Poem and the Table Poem. With Secondary students, the Ghazal exercises always works well.