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Rachel Rooney’s Advice to Young Poets

By Harriet Staff

Rachel Rooney, who recently won the British Centre for Literacy in Primary Education award, published five tips for beginning poets in The Guardian. Tip number one is as follows:


Tip 1: Poetry is a balance between truth and lies

When I teach on workshops with young poets, I often get them to introduce themselves by stating one truth and one lie about themselves, asking them to make it difficult for me to guess which statement is which. I find that the students who make the most convincing liars (the ones who add interesting and original detail to their statements), are often those who go on to produce the most interesting poetry.

But poetry is also about telling the truth, or at least a truth as you see it. A poem has to convince the reader of its honesty. If you feel strongly about what you are writing, even if you have to exaggerate or lie to get your point across, then this will shine through. A poem needs to be believed, if only for the duration of the reading or writing of it.

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Posted in Poetry News on Monday, August 6th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.