Children’s Author and Poet Michael Rosen visits Stockport’s Children’s Poetry Festival

Renowned children’s poet, author and broadcaster Michael Rosen visited Stockport Children’s Poetry Festival to celebrate the poems of the area’s children who put pen to paper.

Children’s Author and Poet Michael Rosen visits Stockport’s Children’s Poetry Festival

Mr Rosen read some of his own poetry and gave encouragement to the primary school children who had written poems for the Children's Poetry Festival, celebrating Stockport’s tenure as Greater Manchester Town of Culture.

He was joined by Linda Cosgriff, a Stockport poet and founder member and former chair of Stockport Writers, a not-for-profit group that encourages new writers. Michael Rosen was sent a long list of 67 poems to select a shortlist of the very best.

Councillor Mark Hunter, Leader of Stockport Council, said: “Listening to the poems which were shortlisted, it is clear that we have an extremely talented group of young creative writers in Stockport. Thanks so much to Mr Rosen for coming to Stockport and helping to inspire the next generation of poets.”

Councillor Frankie Singleton, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture & Sport at Stockport Council, said: “It is fantastic to welcome such a fantastic and well-loved poet and author like Michael Rosen to Stockport. His works have given so much joy to children in the borough and around the world. It was an inspiring event for the budding young poets of Stockport and really encouraged them to keep going with their creative writing.”

This year's theme for the poems was the environment, and the young people could interpret this any way they chose —simply by describing the environment of their nearest playground or park, or they could explore the wider world and how we need to take care of it.

The festival, organised by Seven Arches Publishing, took place on Wednesday, 20 March 2024, at Stockport Guildhall. Children joined Mr Rosen on stage to read their poems, either alone or with friends.

The challenge was set last September with the closing date for entries in January. The festival received 300 entries from eight schools, with 10 entries sent in by families and three from children sent in by PIE, Pursuing Individuals Excellence and the organisers were overwhelmed by the high quality of the children’s work and their imagination.

Stockport’s children have been learning to become brilliant poets by using ‘Poetry Prompts’ by Joseph Coelho, Waterstones Children’s Laureate, and Michael Rosen’s fun YouTube channel. Their poems use alliteration, repetition, rhythm, similes, and metaphors to demonstrate this.

The poems also showed how important the environment is to them. Stockport children understand and care that not all people are looking after the world they are growing up in. They listened to news and watched television programmes about global warming and biodiversity loss, including the ‘Planet’ series by David Attenborough. They also asked their parents and teachers questions, and their poems reflect some of those questions and answers.

Jane Schaffer, Founder of Seven Arches Publishing, said, “It was a dream come true when we at Seven Arches Publishing won a creative commission to organise a children’s poetry competition for the 2023/24 Town of Culture. We have had more than 300 entries, and the quality has been outstanding.”

Following the festival a video of the event will be shared with all Stockport schools to give them a lasting memory of the day.

There will also be a Stockport Children’s Festival of Poetry display folder in libraries containing all the poems sent in from local children. Seven Arches Publishing will also produce a beautiful book that can be purchased from bookshops, online booksellers and the Seven Arches Publishing website.