A Guide to Teaching Contemporary Poetry

The Water Replies: An Invitation for Teachers

In place of the creative training sessions we had planned before COVID-19's limitations, we are pleased to be developing ‘A Guide To Teaching Contemporary Poetry’ - a publication for teachers, guided and inspired by two amazing poets, Selina Nwulu and Caroline Bird.

We invite you to share your insights and feedback on this publication as it develops, in order to provide a resource which will offer support and inspiration for an often overlooked part of the creative writing curriculum - contemporary poetry.

This publication will feature questions, provocations, poems and suggestions which you can put to use quickly within your classroom, applicable for primary, secondary, SEN and HE classes. To accompany the book, we will also have a pack of worksheets available to download for free online, with resources suitable for a range of ages and abilities. We invite teachers and students to submit creative responses to be exhibited at Estuary 2021, using our poetry guide and digital worksheets as inspiration.


Teachers from all subjects and year groups are invited to join the sessions below.

These sessions have been made possible through support from Royal Opera House Bridge.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts which will directly help us to deliver an accessible, inspiring teaching resource.

Book a free place on any of the sessions below.


4pm - 5pm : Zoom
Mon 24th August
The Water Replies : What do you look for in a teaching resource?
Click here to book.

Join us for an informal discussion regarding the challenges of teaching contemporary poetry, curriculum checkpoints within creative writing and what you look for in a successful teaching resource, as we develop upcoming publication, A Guide to Teaching Contemporary Poetry.


4pm - 5pm : Zoom
Mon 7th Sept
The Water Replies : How can we support you in structuring workshops>
Click here to book.

We invite you to share with us the key information you need to deliver a workshop in the classroom and tell us how we can best support you with free, downloadable worksheets. Hear about our call-out for student submissions to the exhibition, and share your thoughts on this part of the project.

To finish this session, we will be sharing a preview of the foreword for A Guide to Teaching Contemporary Poetry, written by poet Caroline Bird.


4pm - 5pm : Zoom
Mon 21st Sept
The Water Replies : What next?
Click here to book.

See a preview of our design concepts for upcoming publication, A Guide to Teaching Contemporary Poetry., delivered by London based artist Rose Nordin. Register your interest in receiving a copy, and share with us suggestions and networks for whom this book would be a valuable resource.


‘A Guide to Teaching Contemporary Poetry’ will be released in the Autumn term of 2020.
To receive a FREE copy (printed or PDF), please contact:

Metal (for South Essex teachers) : [email protected]
Cement Fields (for North Kent teachers) : [email protected]


These physical artworks will be in place for the entirety of Estuary 2021.

The public programme will include -
1. An exhibition of poems, works and journals produced by local people and submitted to The Water Replies. On the South Essex side of the river, the venue for this exhibition will be Chalkwell Hall in Chalkwell Park. In North Kent, the venue will be confirmed shortly.
2. Excerpts of poetry and poetic prose will be selected to be shared on printed posters and mural sites, showcased across the landscapes of the estuary for the duration of the festival.
These quotes will be selected from young people’s poetry submissions, as suggested via our digital worksheets, accompanying A Guide to Teaching Contemporary Poetry.

A huge thank you to the funders of this project

The project has been made possible through a number of partners on both sides of the estuary:
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport funds the Cultural Development Fund which is administered by Arts Council England.

Creative Estuary
Royal Opera House Bridge
Essex Book Festival
Southend Borough Council
Kent County Council
Medway Council

Support the project

There is still an opportunity for sponsors, funders and individual supporters to get involved - to expand the reach of the project to more young people - and to enable a larger showcase during the festival. If this is of interest to you please do get in touch – [email protected]


Estuary 2021 is made possible by

Principal Partners

creative-estuary   ace

Major Partners

ecc uok thurrock thames_gateway selep medway  thames estuary   ebbsfleet    mayor locatekent kentcc gravesham uoe bas_coun   south_coun Here for Culture

Commissioning Partners

book_fest community_fund heritage_fund creative_coast bexleysalford fpg lesnes Essex2020Logo

Festival Partners

arts_human uni_south uni_oxford uni_glas send_pier pla opp_se henley c2c roh southeastern

Festival Supporters

essex_diversity   raddison   uber