It's a Pirate's Life!
Tamsin Fynn.
Tag: Community News, Schools & Education, Youth

It's a Pirate's Life!

Writing has been a passion of Tamsin Fynn’s since she was a young child. She began writing children’s poetry after she had her son 12 years ago and it soon turned into a a pirate! Whilst living for four years in Qatar with her husband and son, she began performing her poetry at local schools. Tamsin says being a pirate is a great adventure and she loves working with children and sharing her love of poetry with them. Tamsin let Channel Mag into her life on the high seas...!

Courtney Bennett: What’s the best part about your job?

Tamsin Flynn: I’ve reached that point in my life where I would like to think that what I do makes a difference. Plus I’m the only woman in Devonport (or maybe Auckland) that gets to go to work dressed as a pirate.

CB: Describe to readers what you do with poetry and kids in schools.

TF: I start with a performance of my funny narrative poetry in which I read poems on such things as a spy dad, the old man wind, a gran going to space, and sending a whisper to crazy places. I love to make the performance interactive and get so much pleasure from hearing new ideas from young minds.

Afterwards I run a workshop with the children in which the children have the opportunity to write poetry.

In the 60 or so performances I have done in Auckland it is always wonderful to see the smiles on children’s faces as I share my poetry and as they produce a piece of their own work. I love to promote the idea of poetry as being a place where children can find their own voice and ideas and get pleasure from it.

CB: Why is reading so important for our young people?

TF: I think reading takes young people to other places. It’s an opportunity for adventure and learning. It helps build the creativity that in this digital age is so important.

CB: Who do you admire and why?

TF: Margaret Mahy. I loved the way she moved us outside of the ordinary and how she bravely played with language. An example of this being in her poem “Summer” in which she uses the words “swimmery” to describe the desire to want to swim and the word ”thunderfull” to describe the sky.  Also I would have to mention Chris White, a UK illustrator and performance poet who inspired me into performance after seeing him and has also illustrated my poems. 

CB: Which poem is most popular with children?

TF: I hope they enjoy all my poems but one that stands out is about Grandma's ghastly stew, which is incredibly noisy and horrible and they also seem to enjoy joining in on the stew noises.

CB: Where is your favourite place to travel to and why?

TF: Actually I do have some wonderful trips to space when I am writing some of my poems (like ”Space Gran” and “Off to Mars”) but here on earth I love to travel to busy mad cities where around every corner there is a new story. 

CB: What is your favorite poem and why?

TF: “Ghosts” by Margaret Mahy. I love the way she moves between two worlds in this poem. Also “The Fish” by Elizabeth Bishop, with the incredible description of the fish and the strong use of the theme of victory.

CB: What do you do in your spare time?

TF: I love to sail and have done since I was six. I love to go out on the Hauraki Gulf with my husband and son. I also read, play tennis and daydream for ideas for my next poem. I have also recently started going out with my son on photography expeditions.

CB: If I wasn’t in poetry business...

TF: I would probably be on a real pirate adventure sailing somewhere exotic I suspect. 

To enquire about Tamsin's workshops, email  

By Courtney Bennett

Channel Magazine: Issuu 56 July 2015

Shore People articles by Courtney Bennett