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Looking at Poetry for Children

Looking at Poetry for Children

To continue where I left off last week, having taken my talking glasses to creative writing group where I had used them to read aloud a poem I'd written, the session ended with a prompt to try writing something for children.

That is a long way from my comfort zone — I loved books as a child, which in my junior school days saw me reading The Silver Sword (Ian Serraillier), I Am David (Anne Holm), The Lotus Caves (John Christopher), The Hobbit and the Lord of The Rings (both by J. R. R. Tolkien), all of which I remain in awe of their ability to communicate equally effectively with adults as well as children.

I imagined I was writing a poem for my 7-year-old niece and my 9-year-old nephew, and I wanted to write something that they would relate to and would find humorous. They have two cats, Hermes and Demita, the latter you can, if you look closely, find in the photo below, helping me type things on the computer — you'll have to look hard though because she is a master of camouflage.

Demita the cat curled up on my knee while I try and reach around her to type on a computer keyboard.

So with my glasses in mind I formatted the poem to give the glasses the best chance of reading it aloud to the creative writing group. Last week I ended every line with a full stop, which gives the glasses a signal that they need to pause before reading the next sentence, and I had also realised that using a comma or a question mark or an exclamation mark did not make any difference to the way the glasses spoke the poem. In an attempt to get the glasses to pause a little longer for a stanza break than for a line break I had tried using a full stop before the first letter of the first line of each new stanza, but that had zero beneficial impact and, on one occasion, made the glasses say "dot" before one of the first words.

I dropped the troublesome initial full stops from the start of stanzas and this week I increased the font from 11 to 12 point and made the whole poem bold, allowing the camera to more easily get the right letters / words. For the benefit of the class I slowed the reading speed down by one notch and nudged the volume up by one level. The speed setting is interesting because all other talking devices I own have speed settings calibrated on a scale of 1 to 10 or 1 to 20, but the OrCams use a words per minute rating scaled in jumps of 20 words per minute. I normally have it set at 220 or 240 words per minute; last week I tried it at 200 for the writing class, and this week I dropped it back down to 180, which worked well I thought.

Feel free to mosey on over to my poems page and read the text of my children's poem about a cat. My old cat Bix had the placemat that makes an appearance, though his mat said "very fat cat" which he really wasn't :)

Bix, the very hungry (or fat) cat, helping on the computer

#Poetry #PoetryForChildren #OrCamGlasses #Blindness

Published inblindnessPoetry

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