Harmer and Williams.doc - How can we judge writing for...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
How can we judge writing for children? David Harmer and Noel Williams Sheffield Hallam University MA Writing: Introduction The authors of this paper are both poets. David is a successful children’s writer, formerly a head-teacher, now a tutor on the MA Creative Writing at Sheffield, and wondering how on earth writing for children should and can be taught effectively in an academic MA. Noel is a well-established academic, also a student on the MA, a successful poet for adults, grappling with the business of writing effectively for children. In this paper we’re going to explore some of the academic and creative tensions we’re facing as tutor and student in approaching writing for children within a creative writing MA. We’ll say a little about the research project we’ve begun on this topic, and outline our (current) beliefs about how writing for children should be judged. By way of setting up these tensions, we’re going to begin with a couple of poems. David’s is typical of what he writes for children. There’s A Monster In The Garden If the water in your fishpond fizzes and foams And there’s giant teeth marks on the plastic gnomes And you’ve found huge claw marks on the flower bed Just caught sight of a two horned head Put a stick on your front lawn with a bit of card on Look out everybody, there’s a monster in the garden! You haven’t seen the dustman for several weeks Haven’t seen the gas man, he was looking for leaks Haven’t seen the paper-girl, the post man the plumber Haven’t seen the window cleaner since last summer Don’t mean to be nosey, I do beg your pardon Look out everybody, there’s a monster in the garden! One dark night it’ll move in downstairs Start living in the kitchen, take you unawares It’ll frighten you, bite on you with howls and roars It’ll crash and smash about, it’ll shove you out of doors In the cold and snow and rain the ice will harden Look out everybody, there’s a monster in the garden! Now listen to me neighbour, all of this is true 1
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
It happened next door, now it’s happening to you There’s something nasty on the compost heap And it spends all day there curled up asleep You don’t want your bones crunched or jarred on Look out everybody, there’s a monster in the garden! (Harmer 2001) Noel’s poem is not for children: Another’s Lilac Its scent is its colour, thickened to still me, as I’m night-walking. Preening strangers’ hedgerows, a thief for black lilac. Already, stars. Shadow fattens the scent. Perhaps a woman’s passing, her evoked throat: sole amethyst leafed in jet, on silver wire. Night ripples – fingering the silks. If I’d a home: This garden, this woman. (Williams 2008) 2
Image of page 2
The background to the poems David’s considerations in working on his poem were: It was a response to a letter from an editor asking for monster poems As it’s a very popular theme for primary aged children, it had to be funny, with
Image of page 3

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern