“…”Where would a poet be without her companion? There’s a lot to say for an animal with whom the artist can travel. For one, they do not express their opinions. They do not judge…”

I can’t remember who said that to me, but whoever it was had clearly never met a parrot before. My little bird expresses her opinions loudly, forcefully, shamelessly and without request.

However, she has provided a great deal of inspiration for me in the last 3 months, and I am keen to share this inspiration with others. Maya travels with me to various poetic events and festivals, and is even happy to come into workshops if she is invited. She is very well trained and accepts a harness, which means she is safely restrained around young children, who can admire her and learn more about her at a safe distance. When she is a little older, and has had a chance to learn, she will also be able to accompany young people on poetic ventures outside in the great outdoors, where she and I can help them to write about the big, wide world they see.

I am a big believer in the importance of young people interacting with, and learning respect for, their natural world, and much of my workshops will be, and already are, based around this concept. Learning to understand and respect other living things around them can be a basic step in developing a young person’s ability to interact with other children and, later, adults.

So, this little critter and I are a team: a girl and her bird, the poet and the parrot, on a mission to provide the young people we teach the chance to develop a strong voice, a sense of ownership over their own stories and a sense of place in the natural and cultural landscape in which we exist. Maya has taught me an exceptional amount in the last few months. It’s knowledge I cannot wait to share.”

– Becci Louise

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To invite Becci Louise and her parrot to your workshop, venue or classroom, please see the details on her contact page and specify that you would like Maya to accompany her.

It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that visits on which Maya the parrot will be attending do not involve working with more than 15 children at a time, and can occur in an enclosed room (with doors and windows that can be shut against loud noises and sudden movements). Maya is exceptionally well behaved, and will be wearing a harness, but all birds have a flight reflex that they are unable to suppress when startled, and making sure we can control the environment will mean Maya is able to help me run the workshop as well as possible. This recommendation is more for the bird’s sake than the attendees, who will be perfectly safe.

Maya and Becci look forward to meeting you!

**PLEASE NOTE**

Maya is still working very hard on her harness training, she is now very acclimatised to the harness and is getting used to being around people. She is exceptionally good with children but, as with any animal, it is extremely important that any participants who come into contact with Maya can follow the instructions laid out by Becci. Becci knows her bird better than anyone and can read her body language extremely well. Students and participants must understand that, if they are asked to do something by Becci, they must do so for the sake of Maya. Becci will be happy to explain the reasons for her instructions, but to avoid distress for the bird, instructions must be followed regardless.

Maya has travelled extensively this year, and is a very hardy little bird, but parrot ettiquette is not quite the same as people ettiquette, so please be patient with her. She is a fabulous addition to any workshop setting and is a very good poetry audience. She’s a good listener and enjoys the company of others. It is very rare that young people are able to be so close to a bird, particularly one of Maya’s species, and all who meet her are amazed by her. Her presence is always novel and many participants have factored her into their poems, producing things they never expected!

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