Summer poetry workshop leads to publication for CCE student

7 March 2012

When Rowan Taigel attended the Poetry DIY workshop in the CCE summer programme she did not imagine that it would lead to her becoming a featured poet in the New Zealand Poetry Society's magazine, A Fine Line. But much to her delight it did.

As Rowan told Programme Manager Libby Passau, “The workshop tutor, Siobhan Harvey, created an environment where we felt safe to share our writing and take risks. Her constructive feedback and encouragement allowed me to start to believe that perhaps being 'a writer' didn't have to be just a flight of fancy. I wrote three poems during my days on the course, experimented with ideas and formats and developed new skills in the various writing activities. Siobhan advised us on how to go about submitting our work to various publications and encouraged us to do so.”

After the three-day workshop in January Rowan submitted five poems to the New Zealand Poetry Society's magazine, A Fine Line, mainly in the hope of getting some feedback. She was very surprised when the editor said she would not only like to publish all five poems but also to have Rowan as the featured poet in the magazine’s next issue.

“I would never have had the courage to submit my work if it hadn't been for the summer workshop and Siobhan Harvey. I've always loved playing with language and words and was fortunate enough to grow up in a family where this was encouraged. I am an English teacher at Cambridge High School and so get to play with poetry and stories every day as part of my job. Three years ago I started a Writers' Master Class at school for a group of twelve talented writers to extend, challenge and encourage them with their writing. I enjoy working with them so much and was motivated to spend some time on improving my own abilities, so decided to enrol in CCE’s Poetry DIY workshop during the summer.”

Inspired by New Zealand writers such as Janet Frame and Glenn Colquhoun, Rowan now makes time to write every weekend and has set her sights on further publications in the future. What a fantastic role model to her writing students she is.

CCE congratulates Rowan on her success so far — we will be watching with great interest her career as a writer.

We also acknowledge the brilliant work of the DIY Poetry workshop tutor, Siobhan Harvey,
author of the poetry collection, Lost Relatives (Steele Roberts, 2011), Words Chosen Carefully: New Zealand Writers in Discussion (Cape Catley, 2010) and Our Own Kind: 100 New Zealand Poems about Animals (Godwit, 2009).

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