Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Writing - A Voice for Poetry

Once again there has been an award given and the recipient has spoken up for the place of poetry in the world.

Image result for carnegie medal

Sarah Crossan has won the Carnegie Medal for children's literature for her book One which is about conjoined twins and is written completely in free verse.

Image result for Sarah Crossan's One

Accepting her prize at a ceremony at the British Library on Monday, teacher-turned-novelist Crossan said children inherently "trust poetry" as it is read to them from such a young age.
"And then we kill it for them by around Year Eight, with testing leaving no space for joy or performance," she added.
She said poetry was more powerful when performed. "No poet writes words so that they remain cold on the page to be scanned from left to right in black and white and then examined for GCSE.
"Poetry belongs to everyone, it doesn't necessarily belong in the classroom or university nor in the bookshop ghetto next to 18th century literary criticism."
Dublin-born Crossan, who was previously shortlisted for the Carnegie in 2013 for The Weight of Water and 2015 for Apple and Rain, also pledged support for the British library system, whose closures she said "infuriated" her.
Her winning novel features 16-year-old Grace and Tippi whose upper bodies are separate but are joined at the hip and share one pair of legs.

Image result for sarah crossan
Sarah Crossan

On the day before I produce my weekly poetry blog I find her sentiments totally unquestionable. At no time were the Greek poet's, three thousand years ago, writing their stories in verse so that some poor child could be tested on them. 

I write my poetry as part of my life. I write in ways that I find comfortable, using a variety of styles, but occasionally I have to admonish myself for worrying about whether or not I have written it correctly. In poetry there should be no correct or incorrect way. Poetry is a reflection of being a human being. It is a vehicle for the emotions and for expressing feelings about our world. Thinking back over my own education I remember being taught, in debate, that if you wish to weaken someone's viewpoint attack their methodology. In a sense those who criticise poetry are indulging in the same exercise which, in my opinion, in itself is a sign of weakness.
Please don't judge writing by comparison with what are considered historically lauded writers, but by whether you like it or not. If you don't get it that's fine but it doesn't mean it isn't of value.

God Bless