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Young poets catch rhyming bug

Kahutara School pupils Josie Maddox, Evie Murray, and Riley Murray read their self-published poems. PHOTO/MARCUS ANSELM

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Budding Wairarapa poets were waxing lyrical ahead of yesterday’s National Poetry Day.

Pupils at Kahutara School were inspired by a visit from Booktown’s poet in residence, David Merritt, last week.

Merritt visited several schools on a week-long tour of South Wairarapa.

But Hamish McRae’s senior class at Kahutara really caught the rhyming bug and put pen to paper – or print to cardboard.

Merritt’s unique style caught the youngsters’ imagination, McRae said.

The Auckland writer prints his works using his own materials as a performance piece.

McRae said using such opportunities to expose children to different artists’ models worked for schools.

“It could be to do with sport, it could be to do with cooking, but they often latch on to someone other than the teacher a lot better. It’s just that real life thing.”

School principal Charmaine Taplin said the sessions had reinforced the importance of writing.

“Some have come out that have shone, and some of the kids that you wouldn’t expect, who aren’t confident writers normally have really taken to poetry.”

One youngster, Evie Murray, was already an “amazing writer”, Taplin said. Evie was inspired by the visit to write her own poetry book last weekend.

“One poem, which she wrote in 20 minutes, I could never have done in my lifetime. She totally got what David was saying. Someone like Evie, I’m sure, will have a career in writing.”

Evie said she had learned that the art to writing poetry was “all about observing”.

“It’s about writing about what’s around you. Then you go back and put it into a poetic form, so it’s not just random and it’s got some flow to it.”

Merritt also gave some life lessons along the way, McRae said.

“He even talked about what a midlife crisis was. I think that was an eye-opener for the kids.

“He told me he wasn’t sure how he pitched the talk, but the results speak for themselves.”

Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day events took place in Featherston, Carterton and nationally yesterday.

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