Our Poet Visit: Theresa Munoz

In early July, the poet and literary critic Theresa Munoz visited schools across Teesside for a week of poetry workshops as part of the Scottish Friendly Children's Book Tour. Here, Mia Ainsley and Maisie Kennedy, two Year 9 pupils from Our Lady and St Bede Academy in Stockton, write about their experience of the event and what they enjoyed most. 

Our Workshop with Theresa Munoz 

Theresa Munoz is a young poet who came to our school to deliver a creative writing workshop and talk about her poetry with us. She began her visit by introducing herself and her poetry collection, Settle. She gave the class some insight into her background and family life, especially her experience of moving from Canada to Scotland, which is the inspiration behind many of her poems. Munoz also shared with us some of her views on technology and social media, topics which she writes about in her poetry, like in her poem Be the first to like this. We engaged in a class discussion about our thoughts on social media and whether or not we collectively felt that the modern day social media attracts us or repels us. One class member said she throught ‘social media distances us from our close friends but brings us closer to friends that without it, we probably would never have known.’ Both Theresa and the class agreed with this idea and we felt the comment was very topical and valuable to the 21st century. 

Poetry Stones

Theresa continued her session by handing out stones with various words written on them. The words ranged from colours, to physical features such as rivers, mountains and directions. We were then asked to use the word to create a poem of any sort which related to that word. Some pupils chose to share their work with Theresa and the rest of the class. This idea was particularly important as it helped students to gain a knowledge of using their imagination to produce a poem in limited time on a specific theme. Theresa then asked us whether we found this activity difficult or easier than writing without a prompt and the class appeared be split in opinion on this. Answers ranging from, ‘it is hard to limit ideas to one thing’ and ‘it is easier having a key feature to focus ideas upon’.

Seasons is one of the poems created during the session by our classmate Milli Steele.

Seasons

Snow, rain, wind, sun
Eat up our short year.
All unique in their own way,
Shock us every day, 
Over and over again.
November: winter starts to come.
September: summer fades away.

Questions

To finish her workshop, Theresa encouraged the class to come forward with any itching questions they had regarding her work, or creative writing in general. The pupils asked multiple questions to Theresa with reference to her poetry collection as well as asking for suggestions and advice for new authors who are wanting to begin their writing journey. The class found Theresa’s answers to be very helpful and interesting. We are sure the majority of the class will use tips Theresa gave in our lessons and creative writing in the future.

Overall, Theresa’s ideas towards poetry and writing were fascinating to hear. Her poetry is emotive and the class really related to Theresa’s personal touch within her peoms. One of our classmates fed back to our teacher following Theresa’s workshops that, ‘this helped us gain confidence and receive valuable feedback on our own work which allows us to improve’. Many students also described Theresa as ‘friendly’ and ‘easy to talk to’. These are adjectives which we believe really capture Theresa’s approach throughout the time she spent with us at Our Lady and St Bede.

 

 

Mia Ainsley and Maisie Kennedy

Mia and Maisie are Year 9 pupils at Our Lady and St Bede Academy in Stockton.