Rhymes and burnt breadsticks as First Years celebrate National Poetry Day

First Year students at St George's College were thrilled to meet two professional poets on National Poetry Day on Thursday 28 September. 

As well as meeting the poets, the students also took part in some intimate workshops with the visiting poets.

First Year students, Cat and Ryan, have both written short reviews of their respective poetry workshops, which took place in the School Library.

First Year ‘Polar Bear’ Experience

"On 28 September 2017, the First Years had the chance to meet with a professional poet – Polar Bear (as he calls himself).

Polar Bear, aka Steven Camden, started off by introducing himself with a poem. It was a poem written all about his morning routine that particular day. He pronounced each word so clearly, yet so quickly, that it was almost like a rap.

Our activity was to then list any of the words or phrases we could remember him saying during the poem. We filled a whole A1 page because the poem contained so many different aspects.

Next, as a whole class, we collaborated to create a character that we all found interesting. We covered every aspect, from siblings to ideal jobs, and we all worked together to pitch in different ideas.

To develop this task even further, we went on to work in pairs and do the same thing; create a character that we found intriguing. A common theme that a lot of us enjoyed using was about giving our character an aspiration to be something that we can relate to. A lot of us also found it interesting to include crime in our storylines.

After sharing all of our ideas for characters, we went on to think about rhyming words. We were given the word ‘create’ and had to think about any words that rhymed and how they could fit into a sentence. Some of these sentences included ‘All along, it was fate.’ Or ‘She was filled with hate.’

Finally, we had a little story-telling time. We shared with the class some of our most embarrassing stories and how a reader may relate to them.

The activity I enjoyed the most was creating our character as a class, as we learnt more about each other and our interests. For example, Polar Bear would pick a random student and ask what they wanted to be when they were older. We’d then use this aspiration for our character so that we always felt attentive and connected to the task.

The First Years really enjoyed this workshop and hope to take part in similar workshops in the future."

Cat P

National Poetry Day - Poet Laurie Bolger

"On Thursday, St George’s College celebrated National Poetry Day with a visit from a famous poet called Laurie Bolger. She told us we were going to write a poem about ‘Freedom’, as it was the theme for this year's National Poetry Day. 

Firstly, we were all given some 'rules' about writing poetry, saying that nothing is wrong and it can be as wacky, fun and crazy as you want it to be. Each of us then chose a post card from a selection and once we'd looked at the picture on it, we had to write down what it reminded us of. Laurie explained to us that this is the way she always starts her poems, because it invites you to let your mind be free to think of unusual things. Initially, I couldn’t make out what the picture on my postcard was, but the more I looked at it I realised it reminded me of burnt breadsticks! These became the first two words of my wild and wacky poem.

The next stage in writing our poem was to write down any words we had heard over the course of the week and occasionally Laurie would give us a word we had to include in the poem. I thought back to times on the school bus, books I had read, things people said whilst hanging out with my friends in the chaplaincy, playing sport on the field and all the amazing clubs I do. The words I produced were pretty random and unusual when you put them all together. 

Once our poems had been completed, Laurie said we would have a competition to see who had the best (and wackiest) poem. We each read out our work and I was surprised and thrilled when my poem was chosen as the best (my prize was some delicious sweets). 

It was a real privilege to spend time with a famous poet and to hear how they go about writing such amazing poetry. It has really inspired me to read and write more poetry in the future."

Ryan H









2 October 2017

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