, December 08, 2022

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Poetry Shouldn’t Rhyme, New Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho Tells children


  •   2 min reads
Poetry Shouldn’t Rhyme, New Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho Tells children
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The award-winning children’s author, and poet Waterstones new Children’s Laureate, says he penalised children for writing poetry that rhymed during a school visit

Penalising children for writing poetry that rhymes can help to inspire a love of verse, the performance poet named the new Waterstones Children’s Laureate has argued.

Joseph Coelho, the award-winning children’s author, poet and playwright, has today been crowned the new Laureate, a post awarded biannually to a renowned writer or illustrator in recognition of exceptional talent.

Coelho, whose work includes the Luna Loves picture books, Fairy Tales Gone Bad and the collection Overheard in a Tower Block, said his mission was to reverse the “damage” done to young people by teaching them that poetry must follow “formal rules”.

Photo from the Joseph Coelho website

The author, who grew up in a London tower block never believing he could make a career as a poet, said the “baggage” poetry has carried since the 1900s has “stamped us with the notion that a poem has a right and a wrong way to be read, to be analysed, to be written”.

“I’m constantly asked by young people, does poetry have to rhyme?” he told i. “Rhyme is just another tool you can use.”

“I visited one school where the teacher told me the students where rhyming too much. I introduced a game where they got minus points if they used a rhyme.”

“But if they included onomatopoeia, or alliteration or used a metaphor then they gained points. The pupils loved it.”

Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

Coelho will use his Laureateship to “open up the medium, releasing it from the confines of old weighty tomes and letting its blood flow through pens and stream onto computer screens”.

“There’s a lot of fear that comes with poetry, which I understand. Poetry was often something ‘done to us’ at school."

First published in inews.co.uk. You can read the entire article here.


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