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Radio #EDUtalk 04-04-2018 Loose Learners Ep 10 #surrender2poetry

Loose Learners Ep 10 #surrender2poetry

Mariana & John take a slight holiday detour for the usual tech to talk about poetry.

ᴹᵃʳⁱᵃⁿᵃ ᶠᵘⁿᵉˢ (@mdvfunes) on  Twitter
john johnston (@johnjohnston) | Twitter #surrender2poetry – Twitter Search.

National Poetry Month in the USA, we love poetry. Do we need any more reasons? Well, we had one! It was Maya Angelou’s birthday on April 4th we listened to the Google Doodle for the day. The poem ‘Still I rise’ read by many wonderful voices as well as Maya’s.

We talked about a new hashtag one of us, Mariana, has started on Twitter to post favourite poems whilst also trialling new online generators for visuals. John made a public commitment to contribute to it, and we look forward to our million listeners finding favourite poems to contribute to this new hashtag: #surrender2poetry

We discussed how the idea came to be, listening to an On Being episode with poet David Whyte.

“Well, I always say that poetry is language against which you have no defenses. Otherwise, it’s not poetry. And so poetry is that moment in a conversation where you have to have the other person understand what you’re saying. And you have to say it in such a way that it’s heard fully. But you have to say it, also, with the intimacy of care and of understanding at the same time.”

So if poetry is the language against which we have no defenses, then we might as well #surrender2poetry  – and this was the inspiration for this new digi art project. We highly recommend the On being episode, where David Whyte helps us understand the nature of poetry and the way in which being in conversation with the world helps live a full life.

We read some poems. Here is an example from Kenneth White, titled ‘A High Blue Day in Scalpay’, for you to enjoy which John reads with gusto! With thanks to Lorna Campbell for the photo in the visual for this post, and for making us aware of another use for poetry – naming blogs! She tells us on Twitter,

“After 15 years my prof. identity was tied up with the Uni & Cetis, extricating myself hard. 1st thing I did was set up a WordPress blog to reassemble evidence of my work & my career. It’s called Open World after a Kenneth White poem” Lorna Campbell

And here is an example of the #surrender2poetry visuals, which we read during the episode and talk about a little,

We also talked about the uses of poetry in education, both to support writing poetry and for expressing feelings and ideas we struggle to express in prose. Alongside this, we explored the use for John’s ‘wee apps’. He creates digital poetry makers to help his students learn; one that helps users create ‘Fridge Magnet’ poetry another the helps users learn about Lunes as a poetry form whilst creating a beautiful visual, called ‘Flickr Lunes’, using open license photos from Flickr, of the poem users write. We also talked about the Lost Words Campaign in which a “Bus driver raises cash via Twitter to give ‘magical’ poetry and picture book to all 2,681 schools” in Scotland. Inspirational.

We did not mention the Poetry Archive, but here is the link to it as it seems a useful resource for open license poems for educational use. It is supported by Arts Council in England.

We wanted to close with ‘Kindness’ by Naomi Shihab-Nye but we had a few technical glitches. So here it is for your enjoyment, to get you in the mood for listening to this episode.


And who would have ‘thunk’ it? Our love for poetry was a way into education and learning, the use of technology to share and write poetry and a fun half an hour (well, perhaps a little longer) sharing favourite poems. We hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it.

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