A collections of current testimonials that are continuously updated.
New Town Boys High Scool
200-plus Grade Ten boys seated in rows in our assembly hall for almost two hours… A Writers’ Workshop class populated by the most creative minds in the school… A classroom full of our most academically disengaged and at-risk senior students… A collection of teachers sitting in the staffroom with cups of tea in their hands.
…I have seen The People’s Poet, Geoff Goodfellow, captivate all of the above, holding them in the figurative palm of his hand and hanging on his every word.
I have seen 15-year-old students hang back after the bell to shake Geoff’s hand and say ‘thank you'. I have seen stubbornly reluctant readers venture into the library in search of Geoff’s books. I have seen ‘the quiet kid’ come knocking on the staffroom door at recess to ask if they could attend Geoff’s next session.
Geoff Goodfellow writes what is real. He makes poetry accessible for all, without ever seeking to ‘dumb it down’. Goodfellow writes and talks about things that matter and, in doing so, he shows our students – from all backgrounds and from all walks of life – that they too matter, and that their stories also deserve to be told –and to be heard.
Head of Learning Languages
St Patrick's College
Geoff writes about Australian working class culture with humanity and care. He writes about the people on the margins, about those who aren't usually heard. He gives them a voice which is real and honest. He shows our students the reality of the world outside the classroom.
Our students learn about voice, setting, character, literary techniques and the power of language from listening to Geoff perform his poems with a physicality and emotion they aren't usually exposed to. He invites them to interact with him and his work. Following his workshops, students most often respond with: "I didn't know poetry could be like that".
Leader of Learning – English/Research Project
Cabra Dominican College
I have been fortunate enough to have worked with Geoff over the past 20 years in his capacity as a Poet in Residence at Sacred Heart College, Marcellin Campus, and now in 2021, at Cabra Dominican College. The reason for wanting to continue to work with Geoff? I have witnessed the impact he has made on the lives of students by sharing his poetry, stories and perspectives about our world, both local and global.
As a Poet in Residence, Geoff has always ensured that he engages the hearts and minds of his audience, both staff and students alike. When with a class, and performing his poetry, he not only brings his poems to life by explaining the story and message behind each one, but also unpacks the creative process. By sharing his craft with students, this has transferred to students wanting to work individually with Geoff on their poetry or prose; he has inspired students with the knowledge that they too have the scope and skill to craft and share their own story
Geoff Goodfellow is a poet of our time; his body of work is heart-felt and real…and our students want real…and that is why, I will consistently have Geoff work with my students for years to come.
Head of English and Modern Languages
The Hutchins School
Geoff has performed his poetry to students in Years 10-12 at our school for more than 15 years. Geoff’s poems are tough and empathetic. His performances command attention. Geoff convinces students that their own stories are worth telling: he encourages them to notice the rich source material in their lives and he urges them to listen carefully to the diverse ways people use language. Geoff models a poetic practice which endorses the personal and social benefits of storytelling, respects the possibilities of colloquial language and makes poetic techniques accessible to teenagers.
Sacred Heart College
Geoff Goodfellow has become part of our Sacred Heart College community, known and respected by staff and students alike. He has visited the senior Marcellin campus for decades, to perform his work in a vibrant and engaging manner; allowing students to understand and appreciate Australian poetry with a strong perspective and male voice. Recently Geoff has been working with Year 12 students, focussing significantly on their Transformation Task and drafting process; students were able to work personally with the poet, providing them with invaluable insights and feedback, while also assisting with the editing process. Geoff Goodfellow explores issues that matter in Australia, to Adelaide, and our modern society. Students relate to his story-telling and writing, it inspires them to think critically.
Head of English
Scotch Oakburn College
Geoff Goodfellow had been sharing his contemporary free verse poetry and short stories with Scotch Oakburn College students for twenty years. He tailors his performances and workshops to the needs and abilities of our classes. Geoff represents a unique opportunity for young people to experience, first-hand, the way language can be used to evoke an emotional response, to inform, to delight and to challenge. Geoff's writing invites students to consider a range of life experiences, often beyond their own context, and challenges them to respond in their own written pieces. We look forward to his annual visits.
Sacred Heart College, Somerton Park, SA.
For thirty years I’ve seen Geoff Goodfellow perform to student audiences in classrooms and auditoriums, demonstrating the ability to engage and sustain the interest of his audiences with the reading of his works and discussion of his craft, and impressing on his hearers the power of the word, written and spoken.
I have also seen him help students develop confidence in expressing their own thoughts and feelings, enhancing their skills in writing, speech and public presentation.
The dramatic qualities of Geoff Goodfellow’s writing - strongly visualised settings with language unerringly suited to their personae, particularly in his portrait poems, be they of troubled teenagers, victims of abuse, terrazzo workers, hospital doctors, or local pub bouncers - ensure convincing and memorable narrative realism in performance.
The prolific output of Geoff’s work and wide audience appeal, locally and overseas - in venues that include schools, building sites, prisons, and universities - are testament to his commitment to the word and his achievement in giving South Australia and beyond a highly distinctive poetic voice and social commentator.
Port Lincoln High School
Geoff Goodfellow visits our school biannually and with great anticipation from our staff and students.
The art of poetry, while initially seen as an irrelevant pass time to many students, is brought to life in Goodfellow's performance and our broad range of students connect deeply with his harsh stories and relatable topics. For many students, his visit has been imperative for ensuring the engagement and therefore success in their Senior poetry studies.
Port Adelaide Enfield Council
We had the pleasure of having Geoff speak at Greenacres Library last Sunday to speak about his latest book Out of Copley Street. The audience very much enjoyed meeting Geoff and hearing about his life. People described the session as vibrant and they enjoyed Geoff’s honesty and forthright delivery. Geoff is a confident and engaging speaker and had the audience in the palm of his hands.
It's been most rewarding over the years to be in an operating theatre, a venue listening to a live band, a tyre retailer having new tyres fitted to my car, at a checkout. . . and at any number of places to have someone walk up and say to me, "Geoff, it's great to see you, you made such an impact on me when I attended your workshop back in my late teens."
Ross MacKay. Ph.D.
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
Vancouver Island University, B.C., Canada
I had the immense pleasure to attend a reading by Geoff Goodfellow at Vancouver Island University, and I was treated to an astonishing voice, unsparing in its honesty, vivid in imagery, and rich in detail. Geoff's astonishing poem, 'The Seventh Doctor,' detailing his ordeal with cancer, was nothing short of riveting. His poems about the ordinary lives of working-class Adelaide attain a paradoxical beauty and grittiness, offering so many faceless outcasts the dignity of a genuine existence. These poems are Blakean in their simplicity, but are packed solid with profound understanding of our essential humanity.
There is a grim irony in that such a voice must be artificially lubricated due to the ravages of cancer, but this speaks more to the courage and determination of Geoff Goodfellow to raise that poetic voice against all that this chaotic world throws at us.
Head of Campus
Leighland Christian School, Ulverstone, Tasmania
We have recently experienced our third visit from Geoff Goodfellow. This year to speak with our Year 9 and 10 students.
Our students thoroughly enjoyed Geoff reading examples of his poems — stories of his journey through life. His ability to bring characters to life enthused the students — they were clearly able to identify with Geoff and have empathy for the subjects of his poems.
'Out of the Shadows' was one poem that our students really enjoyed. They were fond of Bobby and since Geoff’s visit I have had a number of discussions with them about this poem.
The bottom line is that students go away from Geoff’s performances with a far more positive view of poetry and not only do they enjoy reading Geoff’s poems but they are more inclined to try and write their own poetry.
The other result of Geoff’s visit is that students can be more aware of and identify with the struggles that many others face in their own journey through life. Some can even see themselves from a different perspective. A wonderful experience.
Senior Teacher of English
The Friends' School, Hobart
Geoff Goodfellow is possessed of the rare power to light up students for whom poetry has been a no go area all their school lives. His presentation style ranges from personal anecdote to riveting insights into the human condition. The intense sense of social justice that is palpable in his poetry is brought to all its challenging power when students are exposed to Geoff in the flesh.
As a teacher in a private school, I love the way that Geoff Goodfellow gives a voice to the inarticulate and dis-empowered in a way that is impossible to ignore. A dose of Goodfellow is often just the right tonic to clear the blockages of indifference and complacency in even our most hidebound students.
Hire Geoff! The right man for the job is often a poet!
Head of School
The Friends’ School, Hobart, Tasmania.
Geoff Goodfellow is a vibrant, energetic performer, who nails his audiences with a raw appeal that reaches well into the spirit. Students will laugh and cry at once. He brings more than poetry, he brings a window on a life that many young Australians may never see.
Unley High School
We had a range of kids from year 10—12 PES to Standard courses who were interested . . . no enthralled by the delivery and performance that Geoff put on for us. It was highly valuable as he recounted his writing process from meeting the character to drafting the piece (on a typewriter) 6 or 7 times until finally the poem blossoms into the event we saw. His delivery was varied and powerful surprising a number of the students who jumped out of their skins with enthusiasm. He addressed the members of the audience directly and his subject matter spoke to many of them in deeply moving ways, ways that the busy but"normal" school life simply cannot do.
English Faculty: Rostrevor College
As a school that's committed to social justice, we cannot ignore what Geoff has to say. He and his poetry speak loudly of social and personal issues which we would like to ignore or dismiss as marginal, yet which our students, judging by their response, know very well, applies to their lives!
Year 12 English Communications Teacher
Seaford 6-12 School
In term one, 2004, Geoff visited Seaford 6-12 School, south of Adelaide. He spent one hundred minutes performing his poems: some "old"; some "new" to a group of year 11 and 12 students.The students, and dare I say it, the teachers were hooked. Here we were presented with a man whoiffered from the stereotyped poet the students were carrying around in their heads. We were exposed to a series of poems equally different in their content. The students were being awakened to the fact that poetry does not have to rhyme.
As I listened to Geoff's recital, I was struck by the words, the passion and the tenacity of a man who refuses to fit where others wish to put him — a fighter.
Geoff writes from his heart as well as his head, reliving past experiences, some difficult, others humourous. Geoff challenges his audience to move out of their comfort zone. I believe that we respond to Geoff's poetry in much the same ways in which he describes his relationship with his father, 'hating him yet loving him' at the same time. But isn't such a conflict the very thing which makes us think?
My students still talk about Geoff's performance!
Salisbury High School
Geoff Goodfellow’s poetry performances are certainly engaging, energetic and powerful. Students (even very difficult to motivate students) are mesmerized from Geoff’s first singlet clad appearance and penetrative words.
More significantly though, Geoff takes students beyond poetry as a performance and into the realm of the creative process. He uses plain, accessible language to explain complex literary techniques, the drafting process and how ideas become embedded into his poetry.
Geoff’s responses to student questions are insightful and respectful. Predictable questions like “Why don’t your poems rhyme?” give Geoff the opportunity to talk about the importance of rhythm and structure in his work. The question “Why do you write poetry and not prose?” elicited this response from Geoff “With poetry you can get in, get out, say something substantial and do it with a minimum of words.”
Geoff’s honesty, raw emotion and willingness to share his own experiences not only encourage students to read and write poetry but also to value their own life and the power of the human spirit.
Head of English
Geoff Goodfellow is now the master of his art. And not just with his poetry, but also as a performer. His ability to explain how and why we write poetry is the best going around. Students at first are slightly afraid . . . then as they realize that what they are watching is an artist at the height of his powers, in control and, dare I say it, mellowing, they delight in his insights and revel in his acute sense of justice.
These are just some of the terrific repsonses I've received from students I've read to. If you've got something to say and you think it deserves to be on the web site, then say it here.
I am writing to thank you for your obviously inspiring presentation at the College yesterday. My son is 17 and didn’t stop talking about your presentation from the time he came home last night (fantastic because he’s been rather uncommunicative lately!). He mentioned how he was transfixed by your poems and the down-to-earth way in which you read your poetry. He said he wanted to applaud loudly after your readings but was worried he would ‘stand out’ from the otherwise ‘quiet’ crowd and also mentioned he wanted to come and speak to you afterwards but I guess, like many teenagers (unfortunately) he felt a bit awkward.
My son has never known his father and doesn’t seem to have the desire to do so, I believe your poems touched on similar situations and therefore he related well to them. We checked out your web site last night and he read your poem “Don’t call me lad Dad” out to me, we will definitely attend any future performances you have in Tassie.
I thank you again Geoff for what was obviously a very moving presentation.
Sarah Serle, Year 11
Grant High School, Mount Gambier
I never liked poetry. I reckon it would have to be the most boring aspect of the English curriculum that gets forced down our throats. When I heard that Geoff Goodfellow, a poet, public speaker and promoter of literacy was coming to talk to us I thought wow, thats gonna be exciting . . . NOT. But then I realised that I could use this opportunity to get out of lesson, and some of my other friends were going and I thought ok, looks like Im going too. I am so glad I did. I showed up a bit late, typical me, thinking I would get nothing out of it except missing a lesson. I came out looking at poetry in a totally different light. Geoff Goodfellow was down to earth, straight to the point and showed that poetry can actually be a lot of fun. He showed a lot of enthusiasm and is a genuine poet who's style of poetry is definitely unique. It was a great experience to watch Geoff and I highly recommend anyone to go if the opportunity presents itself.
Student teacher at a school in Melbourne’s west
It’s hard for 16 and 17 year olds to sit and pay attention for 90 minutes straight at school. But Geoff Goodfellow’s loud, fiery performance was nothing like the daily grind. Several students left the room frank fans, pressing forward to tell Geoff about their own poetry, shake his hand and have their photo taken with him.
Many students are sure they’ll never succeed in English, or indeed at anything to do with reading and writing. Geoff’s life story, told in poetry and unexpurgated prose, smashes up the idea that what you’re doing right now is who you’re always going to be. Highly recommended for any age group.
Pulteney Grammar School
Awesome! Geoff goodfellow is the best person we've ever had come in to talk to us. Under that rough exterior lies poetry of extraordinary gentleness and breadth of feeling. I recommend Geoff Goodfellow to any senior English class. He takes us into his world and brings real characters into the realm of fantasy. Brilliant stuff!
Daniel Johnson: Yr 12
English Communications Studies
Salisbury High School
When Geoff Goodfellow walked into the room you would never believe he was a poet, you would think he was a carpenter or an electrician. He walked into the room with his faded blue tank top, his blue jeans and his black boots. He looks like a pitbull dog: short stumpy legs, short muscly arms and a barrel looking chest. You would not want to get on his bad side in a pub on a Saturday night, that’s for sure. But as he started talking…I started to realise that he is a really strong-hearted bloke.
The workshop was really interesting and I found out about a lot of interesting things. When I first saw Geoff I stereotyped him but as the workshop went on I realised that I was wrong and he is a good guy. I was fascinated in the way he writes his poems and the process he goes through to get the poems to the good copy.
Sharna McCulloch: Yr 12
English Communications Studies
Salisbury High School
Geoff really is a ‘people’s poet’, he knows how to entertain and educate at the same time which is great. I really benefited from this workshop because I now have a greater understanding of how Geoff gets the inspiration to write and how to go about the process of producing a poem.
Aachen University, Germany
I’ve been studying Geoff Goodfellow’s poetry at the Institut for Anglistic Studies at Aachen University, Germany, and have just handed up a 22 page assignment on his work.
I found his book Triggers: turning experiences into poetry most informative and very revealing in terms of craft and technique. It has opened my eyes in terms of how to understand and analyse poetry more comprehensively and has helped me gain a different perspective on not only the poetry of Geoff Goodfellow, but poetry in general.
Goodfellow’s narrative poems really work. He is a great storyteller who is not afraid of dealing with subject matter which society would often prefer to hide. I love his directness and honesty and am looking forward to reading more.