The Manchester Children’s Book Festival and Urmston Bookshop celebrated children’s poetry at a special event. A session focussed on sharing old and creating new poems took place, led by poet and Manchester Writing School Fellow, Mandy Coe.
The poetry of local school children decorated the walls. The children have been busy voting for their favourite poems and were inspired to write and share their own. This project is a part of the Let in the Stars children’s poetry campaign and is supported by Arts Council England. The campaign is centred around the sharing, creating and celebrating children’s poetry.
The session began with the children writing their own poetry for which Mandy offered guidance and professional tips. When explaining the use of repetition and a chorus in poems she described,
“Poems and songs are kind of cousins.”
There where illustrations to accompany the poems from pictures of two best friends to a mouse-dragon that lives on the moon! Eager to share, the children took turns reading out their poems with occasional accompaniment from the audience to read out the choruses. Imaginations were alight as poems about ice-cream, music, fire, monsters and friendship were shared. Mandy remarked,
“Today we have created some fantastic poems!”
Felicity, aged 10, added,
“I enjoyed seeing a real poet and it was good fun making the poems!”
Mandy read the poem Yes by Adrian Mitchell allowing the parents and children to join in with her. She also read some of her own work including the poem Blue from perspective of the colour blue, another that playfully personified rain, and Lost it, Found it.
At the end of the session, with cupcakes and balloons distributed, Mandy shared her thoughts on the importance of the Let in the Stars project,
“It’s about acknowledging that poetry comes from children, poetry is the language of the child. With contemporary poetry it feels a little like we are taking it away and saying it is adult focused. Let in the Stars is about bringing poetry back home where it lives as a part of the child! Any writer or poet can often owe a debt of inspiration to the poets they read as a child. So inspiring young people with contemporary poetry helps to carry on writing, new writing will come from those children.”