On Tuesday 2nd July, the whole of Year 8 enjoyed a talk by international poet and author Gez Walsh. Inspired by trying to find literature that his son would enjoy, Gez set about writing poetry that combined the ideas that you can write about anything, and that poetry can be fun. And this is the message that went out loud and clear to Year 8.
Some probably attended with preconceived ideas about poetry being boring and dull but this presentation was far from tedious. He initially resorted to getting his audience’s attention by spraying them with water but after that his passion for his art and his ability to connect with this age group meant that their focus was guaranteed (and a bit of ritual humiliation of the teachers didn’t hurt his cause!).
They were treated to his own particular brand of poetry (including poems about spots on bums; toes up taps and relationships) and heard the anecdotes of real events that inspired his poems. Through the fun the serious messages were made: that literacy is important and achievable; that, with the right attitude, anything is possible; that literature is about connecting with your audience; that there is a poem out there for all of us and that parents dancing is downright embarrassing!
In the afternoon, sixty Year 8s enjoyed workshops and spent time discussing language, rhyme and description and creating their own group poems about a new teacher. Mrs Currie and I attended and enjoyed watching them being sent to the brink of madness trying to solve the pure rhymes of ‘music’, ‘oblige’ and ‘bulb’ (in fairness, the pair of us were sent mad too – I’m still working on oblige – so any suggestions very welcome).
Year 8 were a credit to themselves and to the school.
Thanks to the following staff who helped make this event possible: Mrs Haffenden, Mrs Currie and the dancing staff!