Letter: Schools of poetry
Friday 28 May 1999
Sir: I was glad to learn that the new Poet Laureate is calling for poetry to be revived in our schools ("Motion calls for poetry revival", 26 May) but I can't help wondering how familiar he is with what is already being achieved.
In secondary education the national curriculum leaves little room for either the letter or the spirit of poetry beyond what is prescribed for examination purposes. But in primary schools I can seen no evidence of a declining interest in verse.
The children I meet, when I visit schools to read and conduct workshops, clearly feel that poetry has got everything to do with them.
Recently I have been working, as part of London's Poet in the City project, with children in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Islington, and I have yet to encounter anything other than engaged attentiveness, an eagerness to write and, on the part of the teachers, a genuine desire to be informed about the range of lively, accessible poetry being written for children.
Before he addresses "the issue" with Secretaries of State I would urge Andrew Motion to visit as many schools as possible.
St Albans, Hertfordshire
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