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 a novelist and poet. Her debut novel, Gods of Avalon Road was published by Blossom Spring Publishing in October 2019 and her second novel, The Buddha's Bone is forthcoming in October 2021. Leilanie has also published three poetry collections: The Redundancy of Tautology (Cyberwit, 2021); Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017); A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015) and two self-published pamphlets: Toebirds and Woodlice (Meandi Books, 2012); Metamorphosis of Woman (Meandi Books, 2012), satirical novella Zombie Reflux (Meandi Books, 2014) and surreal novelette, Til Death do us Boneapart (Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, 2017). Leilanie is also Editor in Chief of Bindweed Magazine, a poetry and fiction online magazine that also publishes a quarterly print anthology. She currently lives in Belfast with her writer and poet husband, Joseph Robert and their lively literary tot, a voracious reader of educational books. Literary blog: https://leilaniestewart.com/ Meandi Books: http://meandibooks.bigcartel.com/ Bindweed Magazine: https://bindweedmagazine.wordpress.com/

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