The path to planet poetry

The path to planet poetry © NASA

In primary school, I was obsessed with space (I spent a lot of time staring into it). The mystery, the unfamiliarity, the cool rockets, and especially the notion that there might be little green men with weird eyes on some far-away planet, are beguiling prospects for a young mind.

Sadly, this early fascination did not materialise into a career as an astronaut, but my current profession as children’s poet and performer has taught me that words, and the amazing things that can be done with them, are at least as fascinating as the mysteries of space. In fact, this is probably something I realised at some level even when I was at school. I liked nothing more than to be given free time in which to write a story or a poem of my choice, and I would always choose, unsurprisingly, to write planet poetry about something I found interesting. Space, and all its accoutrements, was thus a perennial theme for me. The fact that many children (and adults) find space so inherently fascinating is surely a good reason to use it as a springboard for writing. In this article, I want to suggest some ways in which the techniques I use in my poetry workshops can be applied to the theme of space. As I go along I’ll suggest some ways of engaging children of varying ages and abilities.

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