Posts Tagged red room company

Nine Visions for Citizens and Soldiers

Official footage of students from Macquarie Fields High School reading their poetic response to Governer Lachlan Macquarie’s inaugural (1810) speech:

It is really great to finally see this footage. Sean and Natalie read so well! Well done to the entire ‘Live Poet’s Society’ at MFHS, and a big shout out to Lachlan and the Red Room Company for providing the school with this opportunity. Thanks guys!


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Poems to Share

I love The Red Room Company.  I started working with them last year, team-teaching poetry workshops with my year 10 class with poet Lachlan Brown.  They are a group that loves sharing poetry with students and encouraging poetry writing as much as they love poetry itself!

Just now I have bought one of their new poetry teaching products, a card set called Poems to Share:

“Red Room Co. have teamed up with designers Corban & Blair to produce a beautiful card set featuring forty poems by contemporary Australian writers, along with writing exercises to get things moving.”

Red Room’s educational products are simply gorgeous.

Check them out and I know you’ll be adding them to your English faculty wish-list!


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Macquarie Poem Project


After working with The Red Room Company last year, Macquarie Fields High School is again working with poet Lachlan Brown.  This time the project goes outside the Toilet Doors and into the Sydney Conservatorium, as students dabble in a bit of history and consider their namesake through the poetic lens.

The students are writing a poem in response to Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s First Speech in the Colony.   This will be read at the unveiling of a new statue of Macquarie, which commemorates 200 years since his governing began.  How exciting!

You can read more about Lachlan’s workshops with the Macquarie Fields ‘Live Poets Society’ (facilitated by @imeldajudgeat the Red Room Company blog.  It is interesting to see how different students have thought about the themes in the Macquarie Poetry Project, and I think Lachlan’s workshop reflections also provide a great account of poetry pedagogy.

As a poetry teacher, the power of collaboration with working poets in these projects has been a an incredible experience.  One of the most important things I learned from Lachlan was how to get more out of poetry by focussing in, taking it slow, encouraging personal interpretation and wonderment, and giving students time to write (which may sound obvious, but English lessons are so darn short!)

And the students have been awestruck by the experience of engaging in authentic discussion and receiving feedback from a real, live poet.  Projects like these really do increase the sense of connectedness that students have with the curriculum, as they participate in intense thinking about words, about language work, and about the role of creativity in understanding the world around them.  Students in my Year 10 class were also begging to learn more about the technical aspects of language so they could improve their poems (back to basics…I think not).

To read more about Lachlan Macquarie I recommend a brief speech given earlier this year by NSW Governor Marie Bashir.  Macquarie’s endeavours to emancipate convicts and promote their employment and equal and fair treatment are a legacy I believe we should strive to uphold, and his support of education and poetry speak especially to my English-teaching soul!  I can’t wait to see the poem created for the unveiling of the bicentenary statue 🙂




Workshop #2 with Lachlan and Year 10 tomorrow.  We will be discussing Suburbia, and how to see the suburbs (and other ‘ordinary’ things) through the eys of a poet.

To begin the workshop, Lachlan and I will both be showing a series of photos of the local area.  Mine are mostly of local gardens, skyscapes, and motorways.  I’m hoping to inspire the students to find unique and affective imagery in the world around them:

A great resource has also popped up this week – the youth current affairs program on Triple J’s 5.30pm radio show ‘Hack’ is focussing on the SUBURBS.  Throught the week they will be discussing Australian Suburbs: Paradise or Prison?

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Papercuts Poetry Project

(Don’t you love the smell of alliteration in the afternoon?)

Today I taught my first lesson with Lachlan Brown, a poet that is going to be working for the next three weeks with my Year 10 class on a poetry workshop project, run by the Red Room Company.

Last week Lachlan and I came up with a program for my class, designed around the Toilet Door Poetry project.  In today’s introductory lesson, Lachlan spoke to the students about being a poet and writing poetry, and showed an accompnying slideshow of photos from his time writing in the crowded lower class suburbs of Paris.  Using examples of his own work, and some of his own favourite poems, Lachlan explored the rich inspirations for poetry that can come from our everyday lives and experiences.  To conclude the lesson, I gave the students a copy of Bronwyn Lea’s ‘Mineslec‘ on Poetry and Space and read this to them, leaving with the following questions for homework:

  1. Bronwyn Lea suggests that poems in public spaces can “deliver what we hadn’t thought to ask for”.  Come up with three ideas for what this might be.  Could our poetry aim to deliver a certain theme?  A certain form?    Other ideas…?
  2. Looking back over this reading, what points does Bronwyn Lea make that interested or surprised you?  Find something that you strongly agree or disagree with and explain why.

Day 1 edited

Next week the students will bring their ideas, as well as a photograph or an object that represents their everyday lives, and this will form the basis of our first poetry writing workshop.  Lachlan and I will also be taking the students on a ‘Poetry Walk’ around the school and nearby local street to practice ‘seeing the world like a poet’.  I can’t wait!



the Tree of Lost and Found

The Tree of Lost and Found : another great project by The Red Room Company!

The Tree of Lost and Found is a collection of created and found poetry, created by students from Newtown Public School.  The poems have been tied to the ‘tree of lost and found’, and will be on display in Newtown until late Septemner, when it will be moved to the foyer of the Carriageworks.

Until then you can visit it and add your own poem!


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