... somewhat backward. Students are usually forced to read very ‘heavy’ poets. ... I was a geek at school so when we had to study the works of poets like Seamus Heaney and John Keats, I enjoyed it. But even then, I was looking for something relevant to me. ... What we need to do is to start with poets that do engage students. It’s a matter of presenting poetry as something that is wild, fresh and new. Then once you get their interest, once you get them to understand why you play with form and metre, once you get them writing, then you refer them to Shakespeare and Heaney.On the healing power of poetry, he says:
I’ve seen poetry save people’s lives. Some kids have been in danger of being excluded from the school system and were brought back into school through poetry programmes. Now, they are teaching English and passing on to others what they had gained.And on performance poetry:
It’s not about reading the poem back to the page but making a connection with the audience and communicating with them.Kate Owen (now British Council Malaysia's Acting Director) also shares her thoughts on promoting performance poetry in Malaysia.