I’m poetry. I’m the thick
and endless forest of the lost”
Dave Lordan, Lost Poem
Dave Lordan the writer of fiction is scarily prolific. Dave Lordan the editor is scarily productive. And Dave Lordan the poet packs rebel punch into writing everyone should read. His writing has an outward & inclusive reach that gives voice to the reasons for protest against the inequalities of capitalism, while also touching deeply on what makes up our most private selves.
His most recent poetry collection Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains leaves an impression long after you have closed the cover. Reading it brought me to a point where I suddenly understood poetry as the “thick and endless forest of the lost” – and yet poetry remains as elusive as ever. Such is Lordan’s skill as a writer. Indeed, his capacity to clearly define complex concepts & evoke eloquent, original images while simultaneously provoking the conscience of the reader is just part of what makes his writing so powerful.
Dave’s own story neither begins nor ends with writing in the traditional sense. Before he ever knew anything about poetry books or poetry prizes or poetry journals he was performing his first works before rapt audiences of teenage mates back in Clonakilty in the late 80s, where he was also a street performer in the Craic Na Caoilte street theatre group.
He got his start in creativity education with Stephen Murray’s renowned Youthspeaks project & since then has worked with everyone from RTE radio 1 to Mater Dei Institute of Education designing & delivering creative writing & multimedia creativity programmes in two specialist areas, disadvantaged youth & talented teens.
As a creative educator, Dave has a particular reputation for promoting inclusive creativity and opening diverse pathways to expression for young people. Dave does not just teach people to write. Rather he sees his his role as an educator as guiding young people to find their own voice in any creative medium – from podcasting & youtubing over to sketch comedy & performance poetry.
Dave’s expansive & inclusive approach to creativity education closes the circle between him as a rebel thinker, producer, editor and creator. He facilitates experimentation and exploration. As a result many of the young people Dave works with navigate their creativity through comic, song, slam, video and not just through the traditional narrow sense of writing.
Just as they are free to create through different technologies and techniques, the young people Dave works with are also free to explore identities – & not just their own – through their journey. As Dave points out “most kids are interested in how to tell a story effectively in any medium – it doesn’t have to be their own story and in fact a lot of teens don’t want to write about themselves at all.”
Showcasing creativity is an important feature of Dave Lordan workshops. Rather than focusing on the traditional route to publishing, which is “set up to suit only a minority of writers anyway”, the rebel in Dave enables young people to showcase their work. Promoting creativity through performance & various multimedia formats ensures young creators acquire the skills necessary to becoming independent producers somewhat free of the often conservative & elitist publishing industry.
Speaking to Dave I cannot help but feel the excitement of the time and space in which he is working. Access to writing and media has been transformed by the internet – particularly by Web 2.O and all that has followed it. The new ability of the author to communicate directly with their audience has become a powerful tool for creators everywhere. As Dave points out this power and technological advances in smart devices have instigated a break from the traditional literary space of the page into multimedia formats, as well as changes in reading habits.
Dave elaborates on how these factors are having a huge impact on how young people explore identities and what kind of identities they explore and produce. Young Adult Fiction and associated genres such as fantasy have monoploised young reading habits “and this means very few kids are reading the classic literary tradition in the way that literary teens universally did in the past. “
Rather than consuming the classics young people are taking advantage of Smartphones and their moment as “unique in world history as creative devices” marking the “beginning of a new era in human creativity”. The possibilities and opportunities for producing, distributing , broadcasting and collaborating is such that “No-one can say ten years into this new era, what the long term effect of this incredibly creative technology will have on literature, but that it will completely transform it there can be little doubt, and the young people of today are leading the way in that transformation.”
Dave is very much part of this transformation. In the introduction to his edited collection Young Irelanders Dave remarks on the presence of “multiple Irelands”. As an editor he witnesses change in Irish writing as it unfolds. Indeed his remark “I believe there are more talented writers, in short fiction especially, coming from a far wider range of places and perspectives, with more things to say and more ways of saying than ever before” demonstrates just how closely he can read scape of Irish writing.
He has picked up on small reverberations that have culminated in the changing of the guard and the emergence of exciting new voices creating in Ireland today. Dave’s work as a creator, educator and rebel human being have all contributed to this change.
How to contact Dave:
Readers of this article aged 14 to 24 can take his Presidents Award Creative Writing For Youth online course for only 25 euro. video ad here: https://youtu.be/ElaR5PQUxjw
Teachers & youth & community workers can take Dave’s TEACHING CREATIVE WRITING course for only 100 euro. Video ad here https://youtu.be/16EGMjXkTi8
Dave’s anti-bullying poetry film, in use as an creativity-in-education resources throughout the world can be viewed here https://youtu.be/NFe4XOyJzkQ
Find free creative writing resources for all ages at facebook.com/davelordancreativity & youtube.com/davelordan
See Dave’s multimedia archive at davelordan.com & get daily multimedia updates at davelordanwriter.com
Book Dave for a workshop, or access any of his online courses at firstname.lastname@example.org