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Young Poet;Writer's block by Jane Blackoe;Poem

Writer's Block" asks some pertinent questions about what it is we are asking children to do, and who they do it for, when they write for teachers in school.

I like the opening line ("Write") because it feels like a pun on "Right" as in "Right, everyone, today we are going to write about sadness", etc, etc. Instead it's a repetition of a command that has become, to this writer, a cliche. I also like the line about reading "feelings into the words", neatly summarising the tension between reader and writer, and the need for the former to go deeper than what lies on the page in order to gain anything.

The poem does not come from a school exercise, which might explain some of its bleakness, concluding with the idea of writing perhaps carried out as an act of retaliation ("I must write,they must read") which is forever unsure of its purpose.

Writer's Block Write.

I am told.

Write what?

I write because I want to.

Not because someone tells me to.

If I write with feeling, What do they read?

Do they read feelings into the words?

Or just the words?

How do they read what I have written?

So if I must write, They must read.

Jane blackoe

Jane Blackoe, aged 14, receives 'Emergency Kit' edited by Jo Shapcott and Matthew Sweeney (Faber). Submitted by Michaela Philip of William Farr C of E Comprehensive School, Welton, Lincolnshire, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send students' poems to 'TES' Young Poet, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Anthony Wilson is the Poetry Society poet-in-residence for primary education, and the author of 'How Far From Here Is Home?' (Stride) and co-author of 'The Poetry Book for Primary Schools' (Poetry Society)

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