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© 2018 by West Midlands Readers' Network.

Matt Windle


My performances for young people can be fun and interactive. I'll share my 'story' with them about how I got involved with poetry and perform poems of my own tailored for their age group. I will challenge their perceptions of poetry and help to provide them with a broader understanding of what poetry truly is. The performance is engaging and also involves the audience. If I can be provided with their full names on arrival then I'll make a poem out of their names, we'll play rhyming & half rhyming activities and I'll freestyle a poem out of random words that they will write down on a piece of paper for me. They will also help me to create a wordburst so that I can demonstrate to them the simplest ways of creating poetry. I will also test their skills by saying a quote from a RAP song or poem and they will have to decide where they believe it came from. A Q&A is ongoing throughout the performance and the young people can ask me anything at any point during my talk. During a 2 hour session the young people would have about an hour after the performance to write something of their own. 


My adult performances are often thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyed by myself and the audience. Although I am a young poet I seem to write my 'grown-up' poetry with a mature head and I feel a real connection with audience when they are slightly more mature. Virtually all of my poems are suitable for teenagers and young people but some of my 'adult' poetry is a little slower and metaphorical than my faster-paced young peoples poetry. There would still be time for an adult audience to write something of their own if they would like to after / as part of my performance. 



I encourage young people to write rhyming couplets to an eight beat. I find that this is the easiest way to create something for new writers however if someone already has their own style and flow then it's completely fine for them to do their own thing. A two hour session would begin with a quick performance by me before initiating some writing activities with the children. they would begin to write their own poem after about an hour and they would be performing their work (if they wished) by the end of the session. 


My adult workshops often have progression. We'll start of with something short like a Haiku so that the start of the session isn't too intimidating. From those Haiku's they will then create a Tanka, then possibly in pairs to form a Renga, growing bigger into a Cinquain poem before potentially finishing the session by writing a Sonnet. Themes for the session can be chosen in advance. 


Poetry with Punch: 

Poetry with Punch works on improving the literacy skills of young people through boxercise & creative writing.

It engages their body and mind as one entity instead of two separate units. Poetry with Punch does this to entice and inspire so that its participants can gain confidence, self worth and break stereotypes which then gives them the capacity to work towards their sporting AND academic goals.

If we were to blend some non-contact boxercise and creative writing then we would need a big space in the library and no more than 14 young people. The rhythm that they write to is the same rhythm that you move to as a boxer. This style of learning is especially good for energetic and kinaesthetic learners. 

More details on my workshops can be found at www.poetrywithpunch.com