New Poem Collection Goes Online on This Site

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We have already reported on a day held in Rochester in July of this year, which brought together children from several schools in the region of Medway (see"Two Hundred school children celebrate diversity in Medway"). The purpose of the day was to celebrate diversity and to explore some of the richness of our different cultures, as well as the tensions that arise as a community absorbs difference and forms and re-forms around it. Various arts were deployed on the day, but the chief medium was poetry and the time was hugely productive in that regard. The new collection consists of almost 40 poems produced either in preparation for the day or during it, 15 of them competition winners. (Competition judges were Rogan Wolf and Stephen Watts). Most of the poems…
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Michael Rosen poem celebrating the NHS joins “Poems For…” and goes Multilingual

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Photograph: Graham Turner 2008 was the 60th birthday of the NHS. As part of the celebrations, the NHS commissioned Michael Rosen, still then the official Children’s Poet Laureate, to write a poem. His “These are the Hands” is meant to be for children but is appreciated by all age-groups. With its subject a health service that’s for everyone, here is a poem that’s for everyone too. This year, Michael has enthusiastically agreed to his poem being placed under “Poems for…” colours and published on this website, available for downloading. In future it will simply join the “Poems for…Waiting” collection - to be downloaded along with all the other poems. For now you can download it from the link above simply by opening it, saving it to your own computer and…
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Two Hundred school children celebrate diversity in Medway

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In the Autumn of 2007 I was put in touch with Amy Thompson who works in Medway as local government advisor on Minority Ethnic Achievement. On seeing the bilingual poems, Amy asked me to supply one full pack for every school in her area of Medway - a total of 114 packs, each one consisting of 145 individual A4 poem-posters. They were delivered in style by aged Carlsson Saab one stormy Autumn evening, with the Norman walls of Rochester Castle lowering at us from across the river. The excitement of that little adventure generated a further suggestion - that we could offer a bilingual reading to children from interested schools in Amy’s area. For the concept of these short bilingual poems converts well into live readings - a quick succession…
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After One Year’s Work – Update on who downloads from the site

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We now know how many of you registered (over 500) , what you wanted to use the poems for (mostly for use in schools) and where you’re located (about 400 from all over the UK and about 100 from everywhere else in the world). The exercise included collating the email addresses - so that in future we can notify you of new collections becoming available. As far as I am concerned, the UK registrations has been a major geography lesson ; I have been introduced to many UK towns and localities that I’ve never heard of before. Of the 101 registrations from non-UK locations, most of them came for the USA - a total of 32, a significant proportion of them from teachers working in the Deep South. The remainder…
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Poems for…the wall website attracts worldwide interest

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Rogan Wolf, the project worker for "Poems For...", put together the short report during Christmas 2008. It entailed tracking all the registrations the new site had received since the April launch, and establishing where they had come from and how they planned to use poem-posters once down-loaded. You can read the report here. Findings from the report emphasise the high proportion of UK schools interested in this project, followed by public libraries. The main reason for the interest in nearly all cases is the fact that large numbers of the poems are bilingual, "in celebration of diversity." But also the report reveals that this project is now of international interest, doubtless for the same reason - that the poems celebrate diversity. For example, during one week-end in the Autumn of…
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