We are pleased to host a guest post today from Becky Swain, who is the Director of the Manchester Poetry Library at Manchester Metropolitan University and one of the judges for this year’s CLiPPA (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award).
Becky was inspired to join Manchester Poetry Library to work with the team and partners to create a public space that celebrates the power of poetry. Ahead of the CLiPPA shortlist being announced next week, Becky stopped by our blog to tell us about judging the award, the work of the Poetry Library and the role it plays in children’s reading for pleasure …
Guest Blog Post
‘Reading for pleasure and spoilt for choice’
Becky Swain on judging the CLiPPA (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award)
I think I might have just found the true definition of reading for pleasure. I have just put down the last of a mega-stack of stunning poetry books for children that are eligible for this year’s 2022 CLiPPA, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education Poetry Award. These poems have left me full of hope. I have laughed and wept in equal measure. In challenging times, both at home and across the globe, so many of the books on this year’s CLiPPA longlist honour the complexity of being alive, celebrate the power of the imagination, and are full of love and curiosity for the world.
Amongst these books are poems about football, friendship, family, feelings, taking care of our planet, and the agony of having to flee your homeland. There is humour and ingenuity in the crafting of poems that describe the familiar in unfamiliar ways – each taking delight in playing with language, rhyme and the rhythms of speech. Look out for a hilarious poem about multiple uses for a garden pea!
As the leading award for published poetry for children in the UK, the CLiPPA award highlights the current strength of poetry publishing for children and continues to play a leading role in raising the status of children’s poetry. Being a judge for the award this year has only strengthened my appreciation of why this renewed impetus to publish high-quality poetry for children matters – through picture books, single-author collections, anthologies, verse novels and more. I have been struck by how the range of subject matter reflects and honours the experiences of children who face complex challenges in their lives, whether through poverty, racism or displacement. It is going to be a tough decision to reach a shortlist.
In our first year of opening, we are excited that the CLiPPA shortlist will be announced live at the Manchester Poetry Library (MPL) at Manchester Metropolitan University on Wednesday 4 May. The event will be hosted by poet Ruth Awolola, one of five poets included in Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry, and who is also a member of our library team working to co-curate our inclusive poetry library collection and programme. As part of the CLiPPA Shadowing Scheme pupils and teachers will have the opportunity to share and discuss poems in their classes, and a chance to perform with poets. It’s a great way to introduce children to a diverse range of poets and their latest work.
Working with teachers and children here at the Poetry Library, we regularly see how an individual poem, or a line of a poem, can encourage young readers to explore words, their own emotions and the world around them. Amongst their many powers, poems can inspire children, stimulate the development of language skills, and give them the confidence to have a go at writing poetry themselves.
Located on Oxford Road in the heart of the city, the Manchester Poetry Library is a free, public lending library, with a contemporary poetry collection of over 10,000 books and recordings, including a growing children’s collection co-curated by poet and illustrator Mandy Coe. Of course, a library is never finished, and we are still a work in progress. All suggestions of books and recordings are welcome.
Our learning programme engages schools, community organisations and individuals through projects, events and exhibitions and through free-to-download education resources. We are also happy to share our space with local groups, who run projects and workshops and we are currently building a collection for educators and writers who use poetry in their work with children and young people. We hope that this category will support librarians, teachers, teacher-writers and writers who work with schools and will continue the work of bringing poetry and new ideas about how to teach it to young audiences.
You can sign up for the MPL monthly newsletter for the latest on news, opportunities, writing workshops, events and blogs: www.mmu.ac.uk/poetrylibrary.
Find out more about the CLiPPA: https://clpe.org.uk/poetry/CLiPPA
The 2022 CLiPPA shortlist will be announced at the Manchester Poetry Library on 4 May, with an audience of specially invited children and some of the shortlisted poets.
> Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub
> Browse our Topic Booklists
> View our printable year group booklists.
> See our Books of the Month.
We are pleased to host a guest post today from Becky Swain, who is the Director of the Manchester Poetry Library at Manchester…