Publishing children's poetry is as important as publishing their work generally is: it widens the readership for their poems and makes their work more permanent and more attractive.
Poetry lends itself to small press publishing, as is evident from the adult market. A slim volume can quickly be put together; a dozen poems and an introduction make a readable pamphlet. individual poets can be encouraged to collect their poems together for a series like this. Often, a sequence of poems on the same subject, or linked subjects, can make a good structure for a short book.
Anthologies are the types of collection that children are likely to be most familiar with. If the anthology is to have a theme then poems can be invited or 'commissioned' for it. Anthologies enable children to publish their own work alongside favourites by published poets.
Making anthologies also allows for wider discussions around the bookmaking process giving children the opportunity to consider whether they would like to illustrate their anthologies.
Class anthologies can be books or audio collections of children reading favourite poems aloud which allows for the addition of sound effects or some music. Provide teh opportunity for children to explain why they chose a particular poem and for others to respond to the poems in the anthology.
Because poems are often short, they lend themselves to inventive publishing approaches. Zig-zag books are a suitable form for publishing and displaying poems. The scroll book can be revived as a suitable form of publishing poems like haiku.
Children could make shaped books around particular subjects such as trees or animals. Inspiration may be found in the anthologies included in the 2105 CLiPPA Shortlist. or the 2014 CLPE National Poetry Award Shortlist.
The experience of performing poetry enables children to respond to the rhythms, patterns and word play in poems. Giving voice and sound to poetry is an important key to unlocking the meanings and music contained in each poem. It is through reading poetry aloud that the quality of rhyme and verse form, and the power of language can be explored and realised. In preparing for presenting poetry to an audience, and in the performance itself, children gain deeper understanding of vocabulary meanings, bring their own interpretations to the poem, begin to inhabit characters and reflect more thoughtfully on its message. Dramatic poetry performance can be a fruitful way of working with poetry, both in terms of encouraging and eliciting responses from children to the poems they read, and also in providing opportunities for poems to be lifted 'off the page' and brought to life. Many poems demand to be read aloud or performed; poetry is a literary form which has a great deal in common with drama. It is a natural progression to move a poem into performance and perhaps to divide the poem between different voices. This kind of work can produce some very creative thinking.