Editorial by Paul Munden
Over the past year, we have published two special issues (on Writing and Dementia and Poetry by Heart) and one that brought together contributions made to our conference last November in York. This edition, by contrast, has not been in any way “pre-designed” but makes interesting conversation with those previous editions.
John Killick, co-editor of No. 61, delves further into the issues that arise when writing with people with dementia. What are the poems produced for – and whose are they? Paula Claire responds to No. 63, adding vocal polyphony to the aspects of poetry and recitation discussed to date. Her focus on group utterance is a reminder that recitation is not always a solo undertaking. In this respect, John and Paula’s contributions both underline the collaborative dimension of much “writing in education”. Sarah Penny, offering a further chapter on her dramatherapy work in Africa (covered in No. 55), provides fresh insight to the considerable power of writing as related to community. Sharon Olds, interviewed here by Alyson Hallett, makes a similar statement regarding the outreach programme she founded in New York State.
We also print here several pieces on writers in schools. We have of course published numerous articles (and more than one special edition) on this topic over the years, but new evidence of the benefits is constantly amassing, usefully so. It is also interesting to hear new voices discovering the excitement of such work, and to disseminate the outcomes of particular new projects. The contributions here from Judy Waite and Pete Bearder are very different, while Lucy Lepchani’s article extends the consideration of “difficult situations” beyond the classroom, focusing on the widely applicable techniques of Image Theatre.
Robert Hull’s article on translation relates to schools too, suggesting that young readers and writers have much to gain from experiment with this “difficult” art, and it’s good to hear about the Translators in Schools professional development programme taking place at Roehampton University (reported on page 5). Brian Dettmer’s work as artist in residence at Shandy Hall, featured on the cover of this edition, is also, in a sense, the work of a translator, producing a new work based entirely on an original text.
As we head towards the first edition of Writing in Practice, our new journal focusing on writing and research, other articles here remind us of the different functions of a magazine. Yes, we still include here some extended, reflective articles, but we also have scope for including shorter pieces and coverage of events. We are pleased, for instance, to include Fiona Linday’s report on the course she attended at Leicester University’s Centre for New Writing. This was a course designed primarily for teachers introducing the new Creative Writing A Level. A number of universities took a similar initiative over the summer, demonstrating the importance of conversation between “levels” of education.
I’ll finish here by acknowledging the role of new technology in all this. Alyson Morris and Tim Kelly describe in detail the virtual tools being used at Coventry University. Jim Hinks introduces a virtual poetry jukebox called MacGuffin, and Matthew Tett, writing about our access to short stories, makes the perfect introduction to the long awaited launch – at our conference in Bristol – of Cut a Long Story, the online short story publishing venture in which NAWE is pleased to be a partner.
Finishing is not always easy, however. A late addition to this issue comes from Ros Barber, offering invaluable comment on how Emotional Freedom Technique can help overcome the fears and limiting beliefs that can get in the way of writing, useful to writers at any stage of the careers.
The printed version of the magazine will be launched at the NAWE Conference in Bristol, 14 November 2014. It will be mailed to other Professional Members and Institutions during the week beginning 17 November. Any other members - including e-members - may purchase printed copies by following the link below.
Associate/Student Members and those benefiting from Institutional Membership can opt to have the printed magazine sent automatically by upgrading. If you would like to do this, please contact Clare Mallorie
For a full list of contents, click on the image or the link below. NAWE members logged into the site can read the full articles. You can also browse the complete back catalogue of previous issues