I have spoken at length on many occasions about the state of poetry in schools (most notably this article: The Death of Poetry in Australian Classrooms), so each year, I make it my business to ensure I offer workshops to teachers and students where I can, to help bring a love of poetry back to the classroom. But one person can only do so much… that’s where you come in.
As part of his recent residency, 2011 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence, Jacob Polley, collaboratively wrote a stunning long poem, titled Daily Rituals, Vernacular River: A Telegraphing of Brisbane, with four students from the QLD Academy of Creative Industries (QACI). The poem is elegantly designed and printed on fold out card, to simultaneously represent the flow of the river and the rise of the city; five voices melding together to bring us snapshots of a day in Brisbane’s history and the lives of the poets.
The Story Bridge is open like a book
that tells a tale about the city’s people
from point to Valley, bank to bank, across
the river’s jagged mouth. One must begin
the journey down between the flow of words
Vernacular rivers are spoken, unconfined.
The poem, Daily Rituals, Vernacular River, is a fine reminder of what can be achieved when poetry is skillfully introduced into the classroom; of the thrill and passion that poetry can produce in us all. So to help make a difference, Jacob came up with the idea of establishing a Poetry Competition for High School students in 2012. The competition will be administered by Queensland Poetry Festival, and judged by Jacob and a prominent Australian poet. QLD Poetry Festival also plans to send poets out into schools to run workshops and give readings, to generate some real excitement and give the project authenticity. But as you know, all of this requires funds…
Here’s how you can help:
A copy of Daily Rituals, Vernacular River can be yours for just $5. The full amount of every purchase will go towards establishing the Competition. The goal is to raise enough funds to offer first, second, and third place cash prizes, as well as run poetry workshops for high school students across the state. As an added bonus, Queensland Writers Centre has generously pledged to match the total amount of money raised.
To pick up a copy of the poem and to help make a difference, visit www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com, click on the Paypal button on the home page, and away you go. If you don’t have paypal and still want to contribute, just send an email to Sarah Gory at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘DAILY RITUALS’ in the subject heading, and she’ll get back to you to arrange a suitable method of payment.
And never one to shy away from helping out, I am also getting on board to give this project a push and raise these much needed funds. Each year I publish Brisbane New Voices as a way of showcasing some of the fine talent emerging from this great city. I have 20 copies of this gorgeous publication available at $12 each, and I plan to donate 100% of all sales to establishing this exciting High School Poetry Competition in 2012.
To get yourself a copy email me at geenunn(at)yahoo(dot)com(dot)au with the subject ‘High School Poetry Project’ and we can arrange payment from there.
You can also help by spreading the word wide and far… facebook it, tweet it, blog it, email it, shout it from your kitchen window! The wider the word spreads, the better.
Join with me… together, we can make a difference!