Poet teaches pupils to be life detectives

City of Literature South Dunedin ‘Poet Lorikeet’ Jenny Powell speaks to year 7 and 8 pupils at...
City of Literature South Dunedin ‘Poet Lorikeet’ Jenny Powell speaks to year 7 and 8 pupils at the Dunedin Rudolf Steiner School. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
Becoming life detectives was a theme during a recent series of poetry workshops.

City of Literature South Dunedin "Poet Lorikeet" Jenny Powell has been combining creativity and practical lessons during a series of workshops at the Dunedin Rudolf Steiner School.

Speaking to Year 7 and 8 pupils, Powell highlighted the enduring significance of poetry through the ages, and said poetry could be used to help express feelings at challenging moments, from disasters to funerals.

"Poetry pulls us into being together, it helps us express feelings that can be tricky," she said.

Powell emphasised the detective-like nature of poets, urging students to pay close attention to their surroundings and use their observations to fuel their writing.

"It is really useful to pay attention to what is going on around you."

Powell guided the students through different ways to use their poetic skills, such as creating cards, pamphlets, and posters.

"The power of poetry is right before us."

Pupil Lena Roesch, 12, said taking part in the workshop helped her understand some of the elements poetry could include, such as repetition, rhyme and rhythm.

Lena said she was already a keen short story writer and had won a story competition with her tale about friendship.

"It was about this challenge that everyone in the town had to do when they turned 14, which was to jump from this cliff into the ocean.

"And she didn’t want to do it, but her friend jumped in and her friend couldn’t swim, so she had to jump in to save her friend."

Lily Cummings, 13, said some of the elements to think about included how a word sounded when spoken, and how to use metaphor and simile, such as "an orange is like the sun".

She had written a poem that described the wind in a park, constructing the poem with a stanza and chorus.

Lily said she was enjoying the workshops and it was really interesting understanding how to write poems.

The pupils will all contribute their writing to a book of poetry that will be published by the City of Literature, and then the children will be given copies to take home to their families.