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NAWE Trustees saddened by death of fellow Trustee, Sue Dymoke
Tue 4 Jul 2023
NAWE Trustees have been deeply saddened by the death of our fellow Trustee, Sue Dymoke. Sue had only recently joined the Board of NAWE but had been an energetic force for good.

NAWE member Francis Gilbert has kindly provided his personal tribute to Sue, which eloquently reminds us of the range of her fine work:

‘I was very shocked to read that Sue Dymoke died recently; she died way, way before her time.

My connection with Sue was not huge, but it was significant. I had long admired her research before I actually met her. For anyone who teaches English or creative writing (which I did/do) she was a trail-blazer in promoting creative ways of teaching the subject of English, and poetry in particular. What distinguished Sue from many others was her research-informed approaches, the clarity and sometimes beauty of her writing, and her democratic passion for promoting writing. Her work includes:

Dymoke, S. (2003) Drafting and assessing poetry: a guide for teachers. London: P.C.P.

Dymoke, S. (2009) Teaching English texts 11-18. London: Continuum.

Dymoke, S., Lambirth, A. and Wilson, A. (2013) Making poetry matter: international research on poetry pedagogy. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Dymoke, S. (2017) ‘'Poetry is not a special club': how has an introduction to the secondary Discourse of Spoken Word made poetry a memorable learning experience for young people’, Oxford review of education, 43(2), pp. 225–241. doi:10.1080/03054985.2016.1270200.

She wrote much, much else and was a beautiful poet herself. For me, it is this last cited article ‘Poetry is not a special club’ which embodies Sue. For it, she conducted some very thorough qualitative research into the Spoken Word Education programme which used to run at Goldsmiths (now disbanded), observing and interviewing young performance poets working in inner-city schools. She shows in this article vividly that poetry can transform young people’s lives if taught in a creative fashion. Her work couldn’t be timelier now when creativity in education is under such attack.

I met her a few times at conferences and at Goldsmiths (where she was the first External Examiner for the MA in Creative Writing and Education which I run). She was so generous with her time and expertise. The last thing she did for NAWE’s Writing in Practice was typically magnanimous: a very detailed peer review for an article which needed quite a bit of work. Sue took up the challenge with scholarly kind-heartedness and itemised both clearly and rigorously what needed to be done. She did this for no payment.

I will miss her a lot because she was such a rare voice: a genuinely imaginative academic and poet who made time for everyone. Her premature death is a great loss to the academic community; she potentially could have written many more important books and articles. Her untimely death is, of course, an even greater loss to those who knew her; her compassionate presence is irreplaceable.’

Dr Francis Gilbert, Goldsmiths, University of London

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