Putting poetry in the picture

Published on: 12 November 2018

Performance Poet and author Joseph Coelho visits Northern Ireland.

Performance Poet and author Joseph Coelho visits St Joseph's

On the 14th and 15th November school children in Northern Ireland welcomed author and poet Joseph Coelho into the classroom to learn about poetry and the importance of sharing and giving.

During his visit to the North West, award winning Poetry Joe spent time with over 200 pupils from St Joseph's Boys School, Ebrington Primary School, Broadbridge Primary School and Limavady Grammar.

Each pupil got their very own personally signed copy of Joe's book, Overheard in a Tower Block, to take home and share with their families. The students are also took part in a poetry writing competition around sharing and giving, via Fronter (a secure online platform) which allowed them to talk to Joe before and after the visit, find out more about his work and submit some of their own reviews.

Discussing his visit to Northern Ireland, Joe said:

'This is my first trip to Northern Ireland and it's been such a delight. I've had so much joy meeting students and teachers from primary schools and secondary schools across the Derry area. When asked about the teaching of poetry in schools his reply was, 'What I've found in 16 years of working in schools is that students are hungry to not only read poems, but also to have the opportunity to write poetry, to express their feelings and emotions.'

Liz Canning, Head of BookTrust Northern Ireland, said:

'Author visits like Joe's are a fantastic experience for the students, they always come away with such enthusiasm and excitement for books and reading. During the 2018/19 tour we aim to bring books and a love of reading to over 1,000 children across Northern Ireland.'

Joe's visit was made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council Northern Ireland. The Author Tour project offers children and young people access to well known authors, illustrators and poets to help support development and inspire a lifelong love of reading.

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:

'To have a successful poet or writer visit a school group is a wonderful opportunity to hear their words brought to life in a way that no one else can. These events are not only fun for young audiences but also hugely valuable, inspiring the imagination, and perhaps even encouraging children to start thinking about developing their own writing. The Arts Council is pleased to support BookTrust NI to bring poets such as Joe Coelho to Northern Ireland and to promote the value of reading for pleasure.'

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