are what teachers
at the coal face have to say
about my in-school performances
have recently experienced our third visit from Geoff Goodfellow. This
year to speak with our Year 9 and 10 students.
students thoroughly enjoyed Geoff reading examples of his poems —
stories of his journey through life. His ability to bring characters
to life enthused the students — they were clearly able to identify
with Geoff and have empathy for the subjects of his poems.
of the Shadows' was one poem that our students really enjoyed. They
were fond of Bobby and since Geoff’s visit I have had a number
of discussions with them about this poem.
The bottom line is that students go away from Geoff’s
performances with a far more positive view of poetry and not only do
they enjoy reading Geoff’s poems but they are more inclined to
try and write their own poetry.
other result of Geoff’s visit is that students can be more aware
of and identify with the struggles that many others face in their own
journey through life. Some can even see themselves from a different
perspective. A wonderful experience.
Head of Campus
Leighland Christian School, Ulverstone, Tasmania
galvanised my students with a reading that mixed aggression, compassion
and an unfailing eye for character. His choice of material was perfectly
judged and execution spot on. He carries professionalism to a very high
University of Tasmania
Goodfellow is possessed of the rare power to light up students for whom
poetry has been a no go area all their school lives. His presentation
style ranges from personal anecdote to riveting insights into the human
condition. The intense sense of social justice that is palpable in his
poetry is brought to all its challenging power when students are exposed
to Geoff in the flesh.
a teacher in a private school I love the way that Geoff Goodfellow gives
a voice to the inarticulate and dis-empowered in a way that is impossible
to ignore. A dose of Goodfellow is often just the right tonic to clear
the blockages of indifference and complacency in even our most hidebound
Geoff! The right man for the job is often a poet!
Senior Teacher of English
The Friends' School, Hobart
Goodfellow is a vibrant, energetic performer, who nails his audiences
with a raw appeal that reaches well into the spirit. Students will laugh
and cry at once. He brings more than poetry, he brings a window on a
life that many young Australians may never see.
Head of School
The Friends’ School, Hobart, Tasmania.
had a range of kids from year 10—12
PES to Standard courses who were interested . . . no enthralled by the
delivery and performance that Geoff put on for us. It was highly valuable
as he recounted his writing process from meeting the character to drafting
the piece (on a typewriter) 6 or 7 times until finally the poem blossoms
into the event we saw. His delivery was varied and powerful surprising
a number of the students who jumped out of their skins with enthusiasm.
He addressed the members of the audience directly and his subject matter
spoke to many of them in deeply moving ways, ways that the busy but"normal"
school life simply cannot do.
Unley High School
rich with life's tapestry of experience; Geoff Goodfellow's passion
for expressing our common humanity is very real and very powerful. For
youth and adults alike, a highly recommended performance.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College
2004, I found Geoff’s poetry and workshop still ‘fresh and
English Senior: Rostrevor College
a school that's committed to social justice, we cannot ignore what Geoff
has to say. He and his poetry speak loudly of social and personal issues
which we would like to ignore or dismiss as marginal, yet which our
students, judging by their response, know very well, applies to their
English Faculty: Rostrevor College
reminded me of the "bodgies" I knew back in the "Sixties"
when I first heard you. You've changed.You've changed into a mellow
wise story teller.
English Faculty: Rostrevor College
term one, 2004, Geoff visited Seaford 6-12 School, south of Adelaide.
He spent one hundred minutes performing his poems: some "old";
some "new" to a group of year 11 and 12 students.The
students, and dare I say it, the teachers were hooked. Here we were
presented with a man whoiffered from the stereotyped poet the students
were carrying around in their heads. We were exposed to a series of
poems equally different in their content. The students were being awakened
to the fact that poetry does not have to rhyme.
I listened to Geoff's recital, I was struck by the words, the passion
and the tenacity of a man who refuses to fit where others wish to put
writes from his heart as well as his head, reliving past experiences,
some difficult, others humourous. Geoff challenges his audience to move
out of their comfort zone. I believe that we respond to Geoff's poetry
in much the same ways in which he describes his relationship with his
father, 'hating him yet loving him' at the same time. But isn't such
a conflict the very thing which makes us think?
students still talk about Geoff's performance!
12 English Communications Teacher
Seaford 6-12 School
Goodfellow’s poetry performances are certainly engaging, energetic
and powerful. Students (even very difficult to motivate students) are
mesmerized from Geoff’s first singlet clad appearance and penetrative
significantly though, Geoff takes students beyond poetry as a performance
and into the realm of the creative process. He uses plain, accessible
language to explain complex literary techniques, the drafting process
and how ideas become embedded into his poetry.
responses to student questions are insightful and respectful. Predictable
questions like “Why don’t your poems rhyme?” give
Geoff the opportunity to talk about the importance of rhythm and structure
in his work. The question “Why do you write poetry and not prose?”
elicited this response from Geoff “With poetry you can get in,
get out, say something substantial and do it with a minimum of words.”
honesty, raw emotion and willingness to share his own experiences not
only encourage students to read and write poetry but also to value their
own life and the power of the human spirit.
Salisbury High School
Goodfellow is now the master of his art. And not just with his poetry,
but also as a performer. His ability to explain how and why we write
poetry is the best going around. Students at first are slightly afraid
. . . then as they realize that what they are watching is an artist
at the height of his powers, in control and, dare I say it, mellowing,
they delight in his insights and revel in his acute sense of justice.
Lloyd Cook, Head of English, Pulteney Grammar School