On Tuesday the Evans family remembered their daughter and sister Maggie, who took her own life ten years ago, aged 29. The annual Maggie’s Day event is a celebration of the power of the arts, and this year was no exception, with Joseph Coelho showing children how easy it can be to express yourself through poetry.
Maggie’s Day is a collaboration between Maggie’s parents Bob and Kati and brother David, and The Story Museum in Oxford. Using their named fund with OCF, the family sponsors a day out for schoolchildren across the county to hear from a children’s author. In the build-up to the event, teachers use the author’s work to enthuse the children about literature and writing – which were Maggie’s own passions.
This year’s event saw the return of Joseph Coelho, a performance poet and playwright known for his poetry collection Werewolf Club Rules. On Maggie’s Day he enthralled pupils from Pegasus Primary School, Rose Hill Primary School, SS Mary and John Primary School, Church Cowley St James Primary School, St Ebbes Primary School, New Hinksey Primary School and Sunningwell School with ideas for playful but accessible types of poem that anyone can write.
For example, an abecedarius is a type of poem or acrostic where each line begins with each successive letter of the alphabet. A sestina is six-verse poem where the words that end each line of the first stanza are used as line endings in each of the following stanzas, rotated in a set pattern. Joseph wanted to use these playful forms to show children that they can find structures to express their ideas that aren’t too traditional or intimidating.
Maggie’s brother David, pictured with Joseph, told the children all about Maggie and her love of books, and friends of the family could get together in her memory, in what was a moving and fun day at the museum. OCF staff were privileged to attend and support the family.