November 29, 2017

Chalk Poetry Immersion

By Robyn Hancock

There have been many project developments since my chalk poetry blog, featured in Suite T earlier this year.  More people are regularly following my work, both locally and online.  Judging competitions for Poetry Planet (a Facebook group) has lead to being published in an anthology, sold online.  The growing respect, recognition and involvement are forming the foundations for future acclaim. 

From the very beginning I have maintained the belief and vision that community immersion and providing public access to my poetry is a key towards my pathway to success.  The feedback and support offered from local residents has been very humbling. Knowing that my words have a positive impact on people, helps keep self doubt in check.

During this year I have run a variety of creative workshops in many different settings. Working with Angela Hill, the manager of Lowe Street Community Arts Centre, voluntary workers and workshop participants, we explored topic themes based on their experiences and life around the drop in centre.  Material was generated for the More Than a Thousand Words art exhibition and poetry recital held at the end of August. 

The workshops have unearthed an array of literacy abilities within the participants which were not apparent until the end stages of the project. It has also enabled others to develop their creative writing interest and abilities. One of the most rewarding outcomes of this project was witnessing people make their first steps along their journey into a literate world.

As part of commemorating NZ Poetry Day this year, I helped organise and host a community event and poetry competition called ‘Kaiti WordBeat’. The intent was to provide opportunities for youth and local residents to share their talent whilst highlighting the positive aspects of our community in a widespread public setting.  Business owners and local artists were very generous, donating prizes and their time by participating on the judging panel.

It has been very satisfying delivering workshops in schools, including my former secondary school, Lytton High, with a range of different ages and topic areas. I shared insights about the creative process as a writer by providing examples of my chalk poetry, around the school. Students were also given the opportunity to create their own version of ‘street art’.  Children at Gisborne Intermediate (7th and 8th Grade) showed great passion and potential during a long term project resulting in generating and evaluating their own styles of poetry presentation. The future of New Zealand art and poetry is definitely looking promising.

Although I am at the beginning stages of weaving my eclectic artisan traits, interests in enriching positive well being and teaching background into a steady livelihood, the outlook is positively realistic. Thankfully my partner and son have remained supportive of ‘the plan’.  The onward journey is already underway…
Born and educated in New Zealand, Robyn Hancock began to identify writing as a core part of her personality from aged seven. For many reasons, it was a source of comfort and escape throughout childhood and adolescence. Dressed in old ball gowns, the window seat in her  grandparent's front room was often transformed into a stage. New 'versions and edits' of the classics and original creative work, were performed during late afternoon concerts. After training as an elementary school teacher,  literacy and the arts became her specialist areas. Overseas travel and experiences provided material and opportunities to develop as a multi-media artisan with a strong interest in healing and wellbeing. All of which have been integrated in many ways. Reconnecting with birth family and heritage in early adulthood massively validated artisan traits. In 2004 Robyn reclaimed her pre-adoptive name, Hancock. It turns out that aspirations of creating a legacy, is actually an extension of one already existing...Social Media Links

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