Poet John F Deane on the need for a different approach to teaching poetry in schools.
John F Deane, whose most recent collection of poetry 'High Sacrifice' was published last year made the decision to be a full time poet. He acknowledges that some people can work and write poetry at the same time.
For those with aspirations of becoming a poet, he believes that it is a good idea to take up a career first, and then start writing poetry, as the exam-based system of Irish education is not conducive to creativity,
You cannot examine a poem, or a person’s reaction to a poem.
At home with his two young daughters Laura and Catherine, he tells ‘Youngline’ reporter Deborah Spillane that one of his favourite places to write poetry is sitting in a tree in his garden,
During the summer that tree is covered in leaves...nobody actually sees me up there.
In a class with the students of Clondalkin Vocational School as part of an Arts Council scheme for visiting writers he reads his poem ‘Down The Long Corridor’ and gives the background to it.
In the question and answer session that follows, John F Deane is asked about the purpose of poetry in everyday life. He maintains that,
It answers very serious questions, and it gives people enjoyment at the same time.
The Arts Council sessions have stoked the creative fire of students of the Secretarial Class here. Last year saw them launch ‘Es Tu’ an anthology containing all their favourite poems, which also won two awards.
Patricia Leahy, Margaret Quirke, Pauline Lawlor and Valerie Brophy believe that their next book will be even better, with poetry written by their classmates as well. Bernard Farrell and poet Brendan Kennelly will also contribute. Contemporary poets have made poetry come alive for them.
In school it was all...poets that are dead hundreds of years, but seeing the modern poets come in was very good.
This episode of ‘Youngline’ was broadcast on 25 January 1982. The reporter is Deborah Spillane.
‘Youngline’ was a once weekly, half-hour magazine show for younger viewers. The first programme was broadcast on Tuesday, 23 November 1976 from 5.30 to 6.00pm. ‘Youngline’ continued until May 1984.