Birmingham Young Poet Laureate Blog 2008-2009
Young Readers Festival: 16-30 May
Did you meet Megan at the 2009 Young Reader's Festival? She was joined by former Young Poet Laureate Matt Windle to lead some poetry workshops on Sunday 24 and Monday 25 May - especially useful for young people thinking of applying to be our next Young Poet Laureate. She also met UK's Children's Laureate Michael Rosen!
Below Megan tells us about her time as Young Poet Laureate, in her own words.
2 April - Library of Birmingham Launch
I went to see the launch for the plans for the new Birmingham library, where we watched the film that I'd been in along with a few other people. I was then interviewed by several journalists, even ending up on Midlands Today again in their report on it.
31 March - Meeting Andrew Motion
I went to meet Andrew Motion at the ICC. We had some photos taken together and talked a little bit about (obviously) writing poetry. It was a good experience and he gave me some very good tips on how to improve my poems in the future, as well as giving me signed copies of two of his books.
27 March - Midlands Today
Midlands Today asked me to write a poem on Teenagers for their school report, and on 27 came to do the filming for this at my school, which got everyone very excited, especially when we did some filming in one of my English lessons. It was very good fun, and looked very good when it was broadcast later that day.
5 March - Poetry Workshops
I was asked to do a workshop on poetry with three classes at Priestly Smith School. The first was in the lower junior class and was about Water. The second was in the upper junior class and was about Parties, and the third was in the infant class and was about Pets. All of them were very enjoyable, and the children were lovely. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.
21 February - Gigglefest
I got asked to write a funny poem for the Gigglefest in Birmingham Library, and performed my poem on the final day. The poem was about trying to remember people's names, and although it wasn't too well received by the audience who were really a bit young to understand it, I did bring along a group of fans and they enjoyed it, especially the ones whose names were mentioned in the poem.
18 February 2009 - Library Launch Filming
I got asked to write a poem (called If the whole world was a library...) for the launch of the new Birmingham library, and on 18 February I did some filming for a video that will be used at the library launch. I had to read my poem to the camera and answer some questions about libraries and what I hoped for the new one, some of which were very hard!
28 November 2008 - Moonbeams
This was a conference for Key Stage1 teachers about creative teaching etc. I was there with Chris (adult poet laureate). I read them Why doesn't it work like it says on TV? and then made them do an activity where I gave them a poem with missing lines and they had to make up their own version of the missing lines, and then read them out to the rest of the group (they did have some good ideas!) I then read them Blue Jeans to a Ball. It was an enjoyable first event, particularly thanks to my enthusiastic audience!
29 November 2009 - German Market
A band stand had been set up in the German Market, and different people were coming up to perform. Most of it was musical; I was the only poet! I read A Modern Christmas, My Dream Poem and Noises in the Night. It was freezing cold and quite hard as the audience was moving and I couldn't tell if they were listening, but quite a few people seemed surprised to hear poetry being read in the German Market and stopped to listen.
25 January 2009 - Holocaust Memorial Service
I had to read a poem at the Holocaust Memorial Service. This year's theme was 'Stand Up To Hatred' and my poem was called Steven, We're Listening (it was a reply to a poem by Steven Turner). It was difficult to find something to write and I didn't want to offend anyone, but the audience seemed to like it. The service itself was also very interesting, especially the video they showed us (called 'The Hate Game').
4 February 2009 - Poetry Workshop
I went to do some work on poetry with one of the year four classes at St Claire's school. I started off by giving them an introduction in rhyming, and reading them a poem that uses rhyming couplets, Why doesn't it work like it says on tv? I then got them to write their own poems (using a model that I had given them) and then we experimented with different ways on putting their different lines together to create a new poem each time. They then asked me some questions, which got gradually less and less to do with poetry, until we got to: 'What car does your dad have?' and 'Are you rich?' I was, however, pleased to hear that some of them seemed interested in writing their own poetry. They were a very nice class and seemed to enjoy the workshop.
10 February 2009 - Pavilions
I went to the Pavilions to read a poem about Valentines Day. I had to read my poem, For You, I Would to some journalists who took pictures and filmed me and Chris reading our poems. This was publicity for a video pod at the Pavilions where people could record Valentines messages. All in all very good, though as the doors were open at the Pavilions it was a bit chilly!