We Too Have a Voice: Poems by Students from Mencap National College
STAR RATING: 4/5
Shelley defined poetry as “The record of the best and happiest moments of the best and happiest minds”. Poetry is not easy to do well and when describing the ordinary, can too often become mawkish and sentimental, writes Colette Eaton.
Celebrating Mencap’s 60th year, this book is a collection of poems developed by students with learning difficulties through workshops at Mencap College sites.
I approached this collection with some trepidation the title felt a bit too “worthy” and the voices of people with learning difficulties are all too frequently polished up for publication so I expected more of the same. But these poems are thoughtful, creative and sensitively edited. Collected in loose themes such as favourite people, likes and dislikes, and hopes for the future, it is clear that each writer has been encouraged and supported to conjure strong images from the most ordinary words and ideas.
It is honest writing, expressing each writer’s ideas simply and largely succeeds in its aim to help people find their voice. This is a resource for anyone leading a writing group and equally useful for training in values in care practice.
Fundamentally, though, it is an attractive book and the best and happiest moments recorded here should be read and enjoyed.
Colette Eaton is support manager for students with learning and physical disabilities, Blackburn College