Oct '15 16

A few months ago I met Aisling, a lovely English and Geography teacher from St Mary's Secondary School in Mallow (Co Cork, Ireland). We chatted about literature and writing in general, and poetry in particular. Aisling asked if she could introduce my poetry to her fifth year English class. Of course I said yes.

They selected my poem 'Disconnection' (you can read it here) to discuss in class and Aisling offered them some options to respond to the poem.

Aisling forwarded me a selection of the responses; I was blown away by how creative they were.

For example, there were three very different movies, an artwork, a 'storyboard' of the poem, two poems that were written using only the words from 'Disconnection' and a couple of fake twitter pages of the young woman who walked into the pole (one student decided it was Kim Kardashian who walked into the pole).

Another student created a fake Facebook profile online for the young woman who walked into the pole.

Some students did without their mobile phone for 24 hours and wrote a diary entry about the experience. One girl cooked a Sunday dinner for her family and went for a long walk as she felt she had nothing else to do when she didn't have her phone.

I was thrilled to 'connect' with this class via poetry, and very moved by the funny and diverse responses. It is such a privilege when someone takes the time and effort to read and consider what I write, so to the talented fifth year girls and Aisling O'Connor of St Mary's Secondary School, Mallow: congratulations on your enthusiasm and spirit, and a heartfelt thank you.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

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  1. rob walker says:

    *This is wonderful Jen. Getting ANY response to your own poetry is always good - but this is spectacular! I recently received a very personal response to a number of the poems in "tropeland" which I really appreciated. If only people would make the effort to do this more often!
    BTW - if the work you performed at the Poetry Caberet on Monday night is any indication, I can't wait to see your verse novel.

  2. Mike says:

    *Wot rob sed /\
    Great to get kids involved in particular.
    Well done

  3. Jen says:

    *Hi Rob, thanks so much. I agree, it's a spectacular response and it is completely because of Aisling. She is so engaged with the girls and I'm sure her enthusiasm for poetry is contagious. It sounds like they had great fun with the exercise.

    It's lovely that you've had response to your poems in 'tropeland'. And why wouldn't you: it's a super collection of marvellously languaged poems.

    The cabaret was fun, wasn't it? You certainly evoked Japan beautifully with the flute. And as for your n+7 Stairway, well, I loved it! Mike, you missed it (and you got a mention!)


  4. Jen says:

    *Thanks so much, Mike. As I said, you were mentioned in dispatches on Monday evening (well, Rob mentioned you as the n+7 inspiration for his version of Stairway to Heaven, which was really cool!)


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