Gunnedah’s Ruth Macauley is on a mission to get kids excited about writing poetry.
Ruth is the project officer for the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society, and with six weeks until entries close for the poetry competition, she is as busy as ever.
The 24-year-old is hoping to run poetry workshops in as many schools as possible before the entry cut-off, with plans to visit schools in Somerton, Manilla and Tamworth next week.
She has already spent time at Gunnedah South Public School and Carinya Christian School, and hopes to get invited into a number of other local schools.
The poetry workshops include activities such as word games, with the hope of getting the kids to work up to writing a poem.
“It’s actually mostly to get kids having fun with poetry,” Ruth said.
“When kids realise they’re having fun writing poetry, that’s kind of the nice bit.”
The project officer said she had good feedback from her first poetry workshop at Carinya, with teacher Joelle Hall reporting that the students raved about it for the rest of the day.
“I think my favourite thing about [my job] is getting kids to see poetry isn’t boring and difficult; seeing kids having fun and being engaged in literature and creativity,” she said.
The project officer said she had also been working on increasing the competition’s social media presence, and communicating with schools around Australia about this year’s competition.
Around 700 entries have been received so far, with most coming in the week before the cut-off. Last year, there were around 12,000 entries.
“They’ve steadily been coming in each week,” Ruth said.
NSW enters the most poems each year, according to Ruth, with strong entries from Victoria and Western Australia as well.
The project officer said she had read a few of the poems that had been submitted, and she was impressed by their content.
“I think the quality is really good this year,” she said.
“Most people are writing to the theme – all around the world.
“We’ve had a very positive engagement with the theme.”
For more information on the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competition, visit www.dorothea.com.au
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