Ecotherapy at St Nicks

I put on a poetry-writing session with the Ecotherapy ‘Connect to Nature with Creative Writing’ Group at St Nicks in York last week. They wanted me to begin my session with a few of my own poems. This is one that I thought apt:

Then we started our workshop proper.

I was bowled over by the quality of work the participants came up with. It far exceeded my expectations. I’d like to thank all the members of the group for letting me come and join them, and for sharing their thoughts and words and imaginations with me.

I was there as part of a project to … ah, well, that would be telling. More about that later!

Meanwhile, I had some lovely words back from participants and organisers of the group:

‘Thank you so much Anneliese, your workshop was so lively, fun and well organised, thank you. ‘

‘The poetry workshop was excellent… The feedback I have received today from group members was very positive – saying that they were very pleased with the outcome and … enjoyed getting involved and felt very pleased they had participated.’

I was very pleased to have participated too.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

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Pizza and Poetry Party

Catherine Bamford, Volunteer Manager at York Blind and Partially Sighted Society (YBPSS), is full of bright ideas! I know this from her days working at St Nicks. (Here are some of the things she and I got up to together then.) One of her latest bright ideas was to put on a Pizza and Poetry Party for YBPSS volunteers as part of Volunteers’ Week, which started yesterday. And guess who she asked to put on the ‘poetry’ part of the party. Yes, yours truly.

My remit was to put on an event that would result in the participants creating a poem that YBPSS could display. As it was a Pizza and Poetry Party, I came up with the idea of their creating Poetry Pizzas, to complement the pizzas we were going to eat.

Putting on the 'Poetry' part of our 'Pizza and Poetry Party' at YBPSS

Putting on the ‘Poetry’ part of our ‘Pizza and Poetry Party’ at YBPSS

The participants were a varied bunch, some fully sighted, some visually impaired, and included volunteers, a trustee and the Chief Officer herself!

I was really impressed by how they all threw themselves into our poetry workshop, and came up with poems that shone a light on the fabulous work they all do for and with blind and partially sighted people in York.

Some of their poems made us all chuckle. Some brought tears to my eyes. All went onto our poetry pizzas – which you can see in the photo below.

With some of the participants and their Poetry Pizzas

With some of the YBPSS participants and their Poetry Pizzas

Thank you to everyone who took part. It was a great pleasure meeting you all. And a privilege finding out about the volunteering work you do, making a difference to the lives of the – surprisingly large number of – people with visual impairments in York.

(Oh, and thank you for the pizzas – and cake! – which were all very delicious!)

If you fancy volunteering for YBPSS, contact Volunteer Manager Catherine on 01904 636269 or volunteermanager@ybpss.org.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Much magic at Much Marcle

What an inspired idea! Bring children from different primary schools together at a gorgeous venue, set in fabulous grounds, for a day-long poetry festival in the company of three very different poets.

The idea was Chloe Garner’s. She’s the Director of the – very wonderful – Ledbury Poetry Festival.

Chloe Garner - Director of the Ledbury Poetry Festival

Chloe Garner – Director of the Ledbury Poetry Festival

The gorgeous venue was Hellens Manor, in Much Marcle, Herefordshire, not a million miles down the road from Ledbury:

Hellens Manor

Hellens Manor, Herefordshire

The grounds are gorgeous, both formal:

The grounds of Hellens Manor

The grounds of Hellens Manor

And more wild:

The grounds at Hellens Manor

The grounds at Hellens Manor. (The elephant is a sculpture, in case you were wondering!)

And the poets were me:

Anneliese Emmans Dean at Hellens Manor

Me!

Sara Hirsch:

Sara Hirsch, preparing her next workshop!

Sara Hirsch, preparing her next workshop …

and Rob Gee (who I kept meaning to take a snap of, but didn’t get around to!)

We three poets performed for the children and with the children, we put on poetry writing and performance workshops, and we all came together at the end of the day to listen to the children performing their new work.

Then we did something very similar the next day (with different children).

And the children? What did they make of it all?

Children in our Poetry Festival lunch break

Children in our Poetry Festival lunch break

Well, here’s the – completely unsolicited – letter one of the children gave me:

A letter from one of the participants in the 'Poetry Festival in a Day' I took part in

A letter from one of the participants in the ‘Poetry Festival in a Day’

Can’t ask for much more than that!

And the grown-ups? What did they think? Here’s some feedback from one of the accompanying mums:

‘What a joy it was to join my son’s primary school and 2 other schools for a
Festival of poetry at Hellens Manor.
A trip out of school to such a beautiful yet friendly location was a great
start to engaging the children but then a day of hard listening, thinking
and writing really got them buzzing and creating. The three so different but
excellent poets performed wonderfully right from the start as the children
asked questions; then listened to the funny, serious, challenging and even
slightly naughty material; then enjoyed three absorbing workshops and
finally performed their own work to their friends and new friends, using a
mic.
Conversations and laughing about the poetry continued in the car and I
believe was taken up next day in lesson plan changes by their teachers.
If days like these don’t get children realising that writing and poetry can
be so rewarding, fun and exciting, I don’t know what will.’

As for me … I found it a very enriching and inspiring experience, in a location so beautiful that I could quite happily have stayed there for ever and ever and ever …!

Fortunately, Chloe is hoping to put on a similar events in the future. Next time she invites me, I may just have to refuse to leave the premises at the end of it all …

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

 

 

 

Let me edu-tain you!

STOP PRESS: My new book Flying High! is published! 

<Scroll down for the latest blog posts>

Welcome to theBigBuzz, home of poet and performer Anneliese Emmans Dean. Let me edu-tain you with my award winning:

and my acclaimed:

I’m all about promoting learning through laughter, rhythm and rhyme, wellbeing through words and sustainability through creativity. So whether you’re a primary school looking for a poet or photographer to visit, a theatre or festival looking for an edu-taining family show, a club looking for an edu-taining after-dinner speaker, or a parent looking for a photography workshop to give your child as a present, then just get in touch, and I’ll see how I can help.

Mooch around this site, read the feedback (from schools and from events) and scroll down through the blog posts below to learn more.

And to find out where you can see a show or take part in a workshop, click here.

Anneliese Emmans Dean

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Bowled over by Bolton-on-Swale

It was my second visit to Bolton-on-Swale Primary School. I spent half a day there last year celebrating World Book Day, as a result of which Mrs Dobson, the Head Teacher, invited me back for a full day this year.

And what a day it turned out to be!

I kick-started the day with an interactive poetry show for the whole school in which I performed poems from both my award-winning Buzzing! book and my forthcoming Flying High! book too.

Then Mrs Jones’ Class 4 (Years 5 & 6) knocked my socks off with the fabulous minibeast poems they wrote in our Minibeast Magic workshop. Each and every one of the pupils imagined really well what it was like to be a particular minibeast, and they used lots of magic tricks I showed them to make their poems sparkle.

Mr Ramsbottom’s Class 3 (Years 3 & 4) and I went on a wildlife walk. After which the pupils tickled me pink with the rhyming couplet poem they came up with, all about the things we’d seen. My favourite couplet was:

‘Rooks retreating to their nest
Trying to avoid the Class 3 test’

Rooks' nest at Bolton-on-Swale Primary School

Rooks’ nest at Bolton-on-Swale Primary School

The rest of the school giggled at that too, when Class 3 performed their poem in the sharing assembly at the end of the day. In which Reception warmed everyone up with their Warm-Up Rhyme from our Rhyme Time Ramble, and KS1 performed the brand new minibeast poem that they’d created outdoors in our Millipedes Galore workshop.

What a great day’s poetry from fabulous children. And what lucky children they are, too, to have such lovely school grounds to enjoy – including their very own Reflection Garden. There we spotted bumblebees, hoverflies, spiders and even the cuckoo spit of froghopper nymphs.

The Reflection Garden at Bolton-on-Swale Primary School - complete with storyteller's chair

The Reflection Garden at Bolton-on-Swale Primary School – complete with storyteller’s chair

Thank you to all the teachers and teaching assistants who pitched in so enthusiastically with my workshops. Here’s some of their feedback:

‘This session (in which the children were writing minibeast poems) was brilliantly modelled with enthusiasm and fantastic creativity/subject knowledge. As a result the children were excited, inspired and consequently wrote poems of a very high standard.’
Mrs Jones, Year 5/6 teacher

‘A very inspiring morning! All children were engaged and took an active role when learning the rhymes.’
Victoria Moodie, Reception teacher

If you’d like a poetry visit to your school, then just get in contact!

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

AGM – with attitude!

Let’s face it, an AGM can be a little … lacking in pizzazz. However worthy the organisation. And Edible York, the organisation holding its AGM last night, is a *very* worthy organisation. It’s a ‘lively local charity that aims to support people to become closer to the food they eat’. Take a look at what they get up to here.

To counter the ‘lack-of-pizzazz’-ness of the evening, Edible York invited me to come and perform for them, after the formalities of the agenda were over. So I did just that. A set of poems all about what they get up to, which is growing fruit and veg.

Entertaining at the Edible York AGM

Entertaining at the Edible York AGM

How did it go down? Here’s what one  attendee tweeted afterwards:

‘Spectacular performance poetry this eve from the ever effervescent Anneliese’

Edu-taining at the Edible York AGM

Where would we be without bumblebees? Edu-taining at the Edible York AGM

And another comment:

‘I loved the way you tied everything together with merry words and buzzing characterisations. It made our AGM such a happy, memorable event!!’

Adding to the festive atmosphere was Tim Pheby playing and singing some beautiful songs (and updating us on the England v Slovakia game).

An excellent way to spend a June evening.

If you dig digging, then Edible York are always looking for new volunteers! They’ve recently produced an excellent ‘Guide to Community Growing‘ which you might find inspires you further. You can download a copy here.

And finally … if you’d me to come and pep up your AGM, then get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans DeanBringing poetry to life – theBigBuzz.biz

 

Happy World Poetry Day 2016!

For great cartoons of all the poets who performed at this York Literature Festival poetry feast, go to Sam Zuppardi’s blog: https://brushingup.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/york-literature-festival-programme-launch/ (Scroll right down to the bottom for his cartoon of me performing this very poem!)

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life