12 November 2011, University of Roehampton, London

‘It Doesn’t Have to Rhyme: Children and Poetry’

The conference will explore aspects of poetry that impinge on young people, with a focus on the question ‘Why does poetry matter?’ This begs the more fundamental question ‘What is poetry?’ which we hope also to explore.

Plenary speakers include Morag Styles, Michael Rosen, Jacqueline Wilson, Susan Bassnett and a panel of people involved with the publication and anthologising of poetry.

Bookings need to be made online. Please follow this link to book your place at the conference. You can contact Lucy Parsons (Tel: +44 (0) 20 8392 3698) if you experience any difficulties with the online store.

Please note spaces are limited so early bookings are advised.

Here is the full programme:

Provisional Programme as of 30 June 2011

9.30 Registration and coffee, Terrace Room
10.00 Welcome (Pat Pinsent)
10:10 Morag Styles (Cambridge University)
11:00 Publishing panel: Janetta Otter Barry (Frances Lincoln), Gaby Morgan (Macmillan) and Fiona Waters (anthologist; Troubadour)
11:45 Comfort break
12:00 Michael Rosen
12:45 IBBY, NCRCL and 2012 World Congress news
1:00 Lunch, Montefiore Diner
2:00 Parallel workshops, see notices
3.15 Susan Bassnett (The Times Stephen Spender 2010 prizes judge).
3:45 Tea, Terrace Room
4:15 Jacqueline Wilson
5:00 Joelle Taylor (Poetry Society) Poetry Slam
5:30 Finish

Programme of Workshops

Workshop A

Sandra A. Agard. It Doesn’t Have to Rhyme.

David A. Whitley. Children’s Poetry: Loose Cannons and Loose Iambics.

Workshop B

Lucy Andrew. Riddles in the Dark: The Role of Poetry in Children’s Fantasy Novels from Alice to Harry Potter.

Rebecca R. Butler. Imaginative Opportunities in Two Verse Novels.

Workshop C

Kimberly Black. Social Protest in Urban Youth Spoken-Word Poetry.

Imogen Church. Authenticity of Voice in Poetry Written by Juvenile Offenders.

Workshop D

Julie Blake. Reclaiming the Oral Tradition: The Poetry Archive.

Mathew Carthew. Slam Dunk: Performance as a Way of Bringing Children’s Poetry to Life.

Workshop E

Fiona Collins and Alison Kelly. Poetry Journeys: From Child to Student Teacher.

Jenny Vernon. Ten Years of Children’s Poetry: The Southwark Poetry Anthologies.

Workshop F

Pat Ebhohimen. Is Poetry Written by Children really Poetry?

Robert Hull. Can a Love of Poetry be Taught?

Workshop G

Emily Roach. Dealing with Death: Tough Topics in Poetry for Children.

Siwan M. Rosser. Negotiating Borders: Poetry and the Language of Children.

Workshop H

Georgie Horrell. Caribbean Children’s Poetry in Multicultural Britain.

Aneesh Baria. Children and Cats in the Alley: T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and its French Translations.

You can read full abstracts for the workshops here.


About Laura Atkins

I am a children's book author and editor who has worked in the children's book field for over twenty years. My published books include picture book SLED DOG DACHSHUND (illustrated by An Phan), and the middle grade biography FRED KOREMATSU SPEAKS UP (co-written with Stan Yogi, illustrated by Yutaka Houlette). This is the first in the Fighting for Justice series - the next book about Biddy Mason to be co-written with Arisa White will come out in February 2019. I spent seven years in editorial departments in the United States where I helped to produce winners of the Coretta Scott King Award and American Library Association Notable Book selections, among others. I continued to work as a freelance editor and as a Senior Lecturer at the National Centre for Research in Children's Literature (NCRCL) at Roehampton University in London. Now based in Berkeley, California, I work with clients all over the world. I have an MA in Children's Literature from Roehampton University, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. My website is

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