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National Poetry Day at St Mary's

National Poetry Day at St Mary's

Today, October 6, is National Poetry Day! Here at St Mary’s, we believe that every day should be a poetry day, and today – like many others - pupils across all year groups are enjoying reading, celebrating, studying and writing poetry.  

‘Time to reflect’

The theme of National Poetry Day this year is The Environment. KS3 classes have been preparing for the national competition by reading and reflecting on some of the poems from the National Poetry Day selection, including a poem by former St. Mary’s teacher Louisa Reid! You can read the poems here: Poems - National Poetry Day. Find out more about the competition here:

In addition, Year 8s have recently been enjoying a wide range of poetry centered around the theme of nature, from Wordsworth’s The Daffodils, to Grace Nichols’ Hurricane Hits England. This week, Year 8 have been presenting on a range of poems, giving their own interpretations about the messages about nature conveyed, and considering the role of poetry in giving us ‘time to reflect’ on the environment and the world around us.

‘Space to wonder about ourselves’

This week, our lively and creative Year 7s have been using poetry to explore their identities and personalities: from portrait poems full of unusual imagery, to performance poetry packed with rhyme and rhythm, our students have shown us how powerful poetry can in in helping us to ‘wonder about ourselves’.

‘Other lives, other states of existence’

Poetry can also transport us through time and space: forward to the future, or back in time. Poetry can place us in other people’s shoes, helping us to understand ‘other lives, other states of existence’, helping us to empathise and connect. With this in mind, Year 9s have been immersing themselves in poetry from the First World War and writing their own empathetic creative pieces in response. Later this term they will be exploring the war experience from a female perspective, looking at Charlotte Mew’s evocative poems about war.

‘Stopping things for a moment’

Our creative writing scholars will soon be ‘stopping things for a moment’ by gathering for their first writing workshop this term, in which they will be using found objects as inspiration for poetry writing.

Around the school, we are celebrating National Poetry Day by inviting our students to use poetry to pause and reflect, even if just for a moment. In our corridors, Sixth Form creative writing scholars have set up ‘blackout poetry’ boards, where pages and pages from old books are being recycled into new and original works of art. By using a black marker pen to remove words from the page, the poet decides which words remain; passers-by can see the remaining words form themselves, as if by magic, into poetry.

Higher up the school, our Sixth Formers enjoyed an assembly this week in which they listened to students and teachers read passages from some of their favourite books, giving them time to pause and enjoy the power of words on the page. The assembly concluded with Dylan Thomas’ fabulous poem Notes on the Art of Poetry:

Notes On The Art Of Poetry

I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books,
such sandstorms and ice blasts of words,,,
such staggering peace, such enormous laughter,
such and so many blinding bright lights,, ,
splashing all over the pages
in a million bits and pieces
all of which were words, words, words,
and each of which were alive forever
in its own delight and glory and oddity and light.