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Contact

emmanuelriddlemaker@gmail.com

Artists Statement

I write a lot of different stuff. I wrote a screenplay about a young man with a wife inside him. I wrote a series of monologues and dialogues about relationships. I've written a book of puns, a book of limericks, two fantasy novels, a book about sex, a book about death and dying, several books of poetry, and a children's book called Uncle Bunkle’s Parrot.

I'm a qualified teacher with a BA in French and History of art and an MA in Teaching of Writing. I've taught all over the world, from fourth grade through college.

One of my favourite things as a teacher/writer is inspiring students to think, speak and write creatively… I collected a whole series of ideas on how to do this in a book called “What happens on page 27?”. Another big fave is riddling. Most days I tell riddles to people… In supermarkets, dental offices, elevators, and on the street. I love it! And, to my great satisfaction, Pomegranate Publications have published two packs of my riddles which have sold well over 30,000.

My work pattern as a writer has been called "serial epic". I get an idea, work on it, finish it, then get a new  idea and work on that, and so on. These finished ideas get folderised in my laptop and left there. Sometimes I pay a techie friend to make a book of them for Amazon. But as a serial epic guy I don't market what I do. I rarely do readings. Now that I've reached 80 it's time to clear the clogged backburner, attend to the "books in waiting".

So I'm a writer. Quite a good one, even though I say so myself. I love the natural world. I love kids. I'm a double Gemini Englishman, a pianist, and a grandfather.

 


Prvious Projects

BRINGING A POET INTO YOUR CLASSROOM

California Poets In The Schools is the biggest artist-in-residence  program in America.  For over 40 years it’s been sending poets into state and private schools, juvenile halls and hospitals. CPITS poets bring life to language and  language to life. They encourage young people to express their feelings, to play with words, images, metaphor, and sound, to discover their own voice and creativity.     

Proud member of CPITS
Not everyone has a talent for writing, of course, but given the right ideas and atmosphere every young person can produce poetry of real quality and originality.

"Research shows that students given significant exposure to the arts have higher levels of self-esteem and  achieve higher test scores."

(See C.A.C. website). Funding for the arts in schools has been cut drastically. California spends 3 cents per person on  arts funding. France spends $56.00.  

Young people need the kind of experience expressed in this poem by an 8th grader:


Some background information about me as a poet/teacher:

I’m a qualified teacher with over 40 years classroom experience - 2nd grade through college. I have an MA in Teaching of Writing from Humboldt State. I’m a published poet. I’ve taught poetry writing in high, middle and elementary schools on the Peninsula, in San Francisco, the Central Valley and the Sierra foothills.   

In my experience (supported by research) residencies lasting 10 sessions with each class are best. I usually begin a session with oral activities - Spolin theater games, riddles and fluency exercises. This creates an open, lively atmosphere. Then I introduce the poetry idea. (See website for sample ideas.) I like to give students a CHOICE in the kind of poem they write... ”You can write a Not Poem or a Metaphor Game poem...” I often use poems by students from other schools as models. I watch for students who are stuck, and often take their pen, ask questions and write the answers. This usually helps them get going. Towards the end of the session I invite students to read their poems, or, if they wish, I read them for them.

I don’t spend much time on literary techniques unless they come up naturally: “I really like that metaphor!” “Listen to the SOUND of these lines!” I give a lot of positive feedback. After 2 or 3 sessions most of the students - even in high school! - are opening up, taking more risks, and writing with greater freedom. Towards the end of the residency we begin choosing and polishing poems for an anthology. Discipline is the class teacher’s job. I can’t be a poet and a policeman simultaneously.


Some testimonials: 

High School: "Refined over many years, his techniques produce not only good results in all areas of creative work but also real enjoyment of the subject in his students."  - English Dept. Head,  Maidstone Grammar School, UK

Middle School: "He never fails to create enthusiasm, not only for poetry and his very popular riddles, but also for language itself. He combines writing opportunities with activities that generate excitement and confidence in playing with words.  I see the results in the beautiful work they produce in the workshops and also in their other writing projects throughout the year." - IBL Middle School, Pacifica

Elementary School: "Emmanuel has been doing mini-workshops in my classroom for the past five years.  I have watched with pleasure as students who had previously seen writing as a chore discover a voice within themselves that they could only reveal on the written page.  To say that students participate with enthusiasm would be an understatement.  They write with abandon; they write with intelligence, they write with joy.  Emmanuel's combination of being a working poet and a charismatic personality elicit a passion for writing that lasts throughout the year.  He catches every student at some level and vitalizes the writing of some students at a profound level." - Ohlone School, Palo Alto

"He makes you want to try and try again." - Student

"When you're with him , it's never boring. Emmanuel is a riddle who changes each time he comes."

"He laid himself on the line and was great."


My standard rate is $75.00 an hour for CPITS, but I am open to negotiation.

If you're unsure of this value, we can do a sample session, at a much reduced rate, so you may see us in action before making a decision.

We can focus on themes - war, animals, old age, etc. and some of the basic writing techniques like metaphor, repetition, alliteration, etc.


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