During the last couple of weeks, my young creative writers have been more than enthusiastic about reading their poems to primary school children across London. I was impressed by their improvisation skills as well as their bravery, since a few even adapted one or two lines to suit their audience (like toning down their worries about coming to secondary school and focussing on the fun).

My young writers reading their poetry to primary school pupils

My young writers reading their poetry to primary school pupils

Reading to an audience takes practise, skill...and sometimes improvisation!

Reading to an audience takes practise, skill…and sometimes improvisation!

It got me thinking about my young writers last year, who did a mix of poetry and stories. Stories are harder to read to an audience. Besides having to choose a short one, so as not to take up half the day, the rhythm of poetry makes it easier to read, even when reading free verse. When I’ve read some of my stories to an audience, I’ve found that I’ve had to breathe mid-sentence, creating a pause where on paper there wouldn’t necessarily be one. Of course, a lot of people are better at acting than me and can go the whole distance without so much as a hesitation! Reading to an audience is performance – a better skill would be to have the poem or story memorised. I’m still working on this myself!

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is an author and poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has written four novels, including award-winning ghost horror, The Blue Man, as well as three poetry collections. Her writing confronts the nature of self; her novels feature main characters on a dark psychological journey who have a crisis of identity and create a new sense of being. She began writing for publication while working as an English teacher in Japan, a career pathway that has influenced themes in her writing. Her former career as an Archaeologist has also inspired her writing and she has incorporated elements of archaeology and mythology into both her fiction and poetry. In addition to promoting her own work, Leilanie runs Bindweed Magazine, a creative writing literary journal with her writer husband, Joseph Robert. Aside from publishing pursuits, Leilanie enjoys spending time with her husband and their lively literary lad, a voracious reader of sea monster books. CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA: https://mailchi.mp/75c5a1ad6956/leilanie-stewart-author-info

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