School Visits and How to Book Them!


Robert’s rate is $250 per 1 hour session, $450 for two. For very young children he may do two contiguous 30 minute sessions for $275. No travel charges within the Toronto area. Travel outside Toronto must be coordinated with Robert’s schedule in advance, and transportation/accommodation fees may apply but may also be subsidized. Robert is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada and The League of Canadian poets. Ask us about subsidies to offset a portion of his fees.

Robert Priest has given presentations, readings, concerts and workshops with age-appropriate materials to students from kindergarten to university level for over 30 years. For 2 years he was the resident topical poet and songwriter on the CBC radio children’s show Is Anybody Home and has written and performed poems and songs on Sesame Street. He is also the co-writer of Song Instead of a Kiss, a number 1 hit for rock diva, Alannah Myles. Robert is a regular on literary and spoken word circuits both in Canada and abroad and often dips into his books of adult poetry when working with older students. For two seasons he performed a poem per week as Doctor Poetry on the CBC radio spoken word show Wordbeat. He taught a course in song lyric writing at U of T school of continuing education and has sung in rock bands, made rock videos and written journalism. His poems are widely anthologized in textbooks including McGraw Hill’s iLit Digital Collection which is available for schools online. He worked as electronic writer-in-residence for the WIER program for over 20 years critiquing student works online in all genres for all ages all across the Americas.

“Robert’s manner with the students is so engaging. He uses both his musical talents and his humour to keep them entertained and involved. He creates an opportunity for the students to see themselves as creators of both music and poetry. A wonderful afternoon!”

Lynn Vallorani, Teacher Librarian John William Boich Public School 2014

I have age-appropriate stories, poems and songs for students at all grade levels. For the very young I have gentle and engaging, interactive poems and songs which celebrate nature, play, friendship and seasonal change. Noted expert Michelle Landsberg described my book for young children, Daysongs Nightsongs, this way: “A Canadian gem…This should be in every child’s home.”

For grades 3 to 8 I have chapters from my fantasy novels, plus a wide variety of verse, and free verse both satirical and lyrical including a terrific anti-bullying poem called The Bully Bully. For high school students, aside from my novel The Paper Sword I dip into appropriate poems and songs from my adult books and CDs. Booking me is an economical choice because of my ability to work with large groups of similar-aged students.

I can come into your school, library, or writing group to give an age-appropriate presentation, with a reading and Q&A, on any of the following topics:

(a) My 10 year Experience in Writing A Fantasy Series Along with Some Publishing Tips

(b) Praise, Celebration Gratitude and Truth: how to make history come alive in poetry.

(c) Courage, Nonviolence And Bullying (Ways to think about Bullying)

(d) Writing Song Lyrics: Exercises in writing words to a melody. With tales of co-writing with Alanis Morrisette, Tom Cochran, Alannah Myles and others.

(e) Celebrating Nature In Songs Poems and Stories

(f) Tall tales, Satire and Humour. how to strengthen the funny bone and bring new writing tools to a social conscience.

(g) Micro-poems: How to generate mini-verses, slogans, aphorisms, new sayings and one-liners

(h) I am also happy to host your school slam.

Maximum number of students per session: 40 is nice, but I will do presentations/readings for up to 100 children. Writing workshops require small groups like single classes (20 students).

I am comfortable presenting in: classroom, library, theatre and if absolutely necessary an auditorium or gymnasium.

Special Occasions Capabilities

Historic Events & Social Issues: the struggle and attainment of civil rights and social justice around the world (Poems about Rosa Parks, the children’s march in Montgomery Alabama, Martin Luther King, Muhammed Ali the boxer, Cesar Chavez and Delores Puerta, The Man Who Stopped Tanks In Tiananmen Sq., Mahatma Gandhi, Elijah Harper) book: Rosa Rose

Bullying: I have 2 poems and a song that directly address issues of bullying plus numerous other poems and songs about violence and nonviolence—both satirical, humorous and very serious. books: Rosa Rose and The Secret Invasion of Bananas

Poetry month: I am well-equipped to give enlivened and inspiring poetry recitals for any age group. I am also happy to host your school slam.

Books: Rosa Rose, The Secret Invasion Of Bananas, Day Songs Night Songs

Environment: I have a full selection of poems celebrating nature. And other poems about environmental issues and some of the people who have led: Wangari Maathai, Julia Butterfly Hill books: Rosa Rose and The Secret Invasion of Bananas andDay Songs Night Songs

People In History: Shakespeare, Sappho, Louis Armstrong, Rosa Parks, Terry Fox, Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Mohammed Ali, Elijah Harper, John Lennon, Kennedy. Book: Rosa Rose

Equipment and other requirements

A board to write on. An armless chair. If necessary a microphone (gymnasiums) a music stand or podium. I request that a librarian, teacher or other school representative be present throughout the presentation.