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Paul Cookson Poetry Workshop (Part 2)

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By Paul CooksonLiteracy Time PLUS Poet-in-Residence

Part 2 of our Paul Cookson poetry workshop features two short films: An audience with Paul Cookson captures a question and answer session with a group of primary school children while, in One step at a time, Paul explains his writing process and how he gets ideas for his poems.


Both films can be used for discussion about why and how people write, and as a starting point for the children’s own poems.

‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ probably the question I get asked most in schools. Well, poems can begin from anything – from the little things we all relate to: the way mum brushes your hair, grandad’s habits, playing out – to the things that interest us most. It sounds simple, but if we are interested in a subject then we are more likely to see it through and finish a poem. And I never go anywhere without a notepad, so I can jot down ideas as they come to me. I don’t always write lots down and, because I travel a lot, I rarely start and finish a poem on the same occasion. Most are written over time.

Previous learning

Children should have experience of: listening to a speaker; explaining how figurative/expressive language is used; exploring why/how writers write; using language imaginatively for humour/description.

Key learning outcomes:

  • To explore different question types;
  • To explore how writers use language for comic/dramatic effects/impact;
  • To understand underlying themes;
  • To write poems and edit/improve;
  • To compose sentences using imaginative/descriptive vocabulary.
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