My poems are being taught at my old school

…and I am just the teensiest bit chuffed about that.

I attended the Canobolas High School in Orange, New South Wales, Australia.  I graduated twenty-one and a bit years ago.  I discovered yesterday that my first book, Pushing thirty, wearing seventeen (Ginninderra Press, 2001) has been taught in senior English classes at the school, at least last year and this year and possibly for some time before that!! 

It turns out one of the teachers at the school saw an article about me in the local paper way back when the book was first published, and thought it might be an interesting way of engaging the students to have them read poems inspired by their own town.  Being a first book by a girl who spent fourteen years of her life in Orange, there is quite a lot of Orange-flavoured material in it –  if you’ll pardon the appalling joke.

It just so happens I will be visiting Orange in late April, so I plan to take up a standing invitation to go and meet the students who have been studying my deathless verse.  I did the maths – none of them was even born when I graduated.  It will be fascinating to hear what (if anything) they make of my work. 

This turn of events has inspired me to add more of my Orange-specific poems to this blog.  In fact, I have added another category, ‘Orange-flavoured poems’.  So far I have added the following:

(all from Pushing thirty, wearing seventeen), and:

(from Mapless in Underland). 

It just goes to prove that once your book is out there you never can tell what will happen.  Better get another out there soon…

2 thoughts on “My poems are being taught at my old school

  1. Hello, I must say that I enjoyed your visit to the school. Not sure if you would remember me but I was the girl that asked you the first question. I have always been interested in poetry and your poetry, I found, was quite interesting. About 4 years ago, I was sitting in English and we were asked to create a poem and submit it on this website for a competition. I got an email almost a week later informing me that I had won in that competition and my poem had been published on the website. Your poems have truly opened my eyes up and has inspired me to keep trying. Thankyou

    • Hi Renee

      Thanks so much for your comment. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit today too. I thought when you asked that question that it sounded like you had done a bit of writing yourself. I would really encourage you to keep going with it, it is just so rewarding and fun.

      If you want to get involved in the local poetry ‘scene’ (or even just find out what’s going on), check out the Central West Writers Centre (upstairs in the Orange City Library). They have a newsletter which you can read online for free without having to cough up the bucks to become a member. They also have a ýoung writers out west’ page with some tips for beginners.

      Also check out the Australian Poetry Centre and the Poets’ Union. And when I was first starting out I found the UK site Poetry Magic really useful for explaining things I didn’t understand or had forgotten about how poems worked, about the history of poetry and about what kinds of things are being written at the moment.

      Anyway, here’s to messing about with words. I wish you well on your journey. It was a privelege to meet you today. Cheers – Melinda

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