National Poetry Day at St Gregory’s #writerinschool

Popping in briefly to say I’ve had a happy but busy poetry week.  I was in St Gregory’s all day Wednesday and most of Thursday (National Poetry Day) and I stayed for their Open Evening on Thursday so wasn’t home until nearly 10pm.

I think that my school residency is going well, so far!  I’m really enjoying working with students from different years in small groups.  I love selecting poems to read and creating writing exercises based around them.  We’ve been continuing to write around ideas about ‘Freedom’ as that was the National Poetry Day theme this year.  I’m planning another theme for the next two weeks of writing.

Lovely things that happened this week included a supply teacher coming to my lunchtime writing club to write poems alongside students – the teacher said that poetry “was their weak spot” and they wanted ideas to take into class as well as to help them with their own writing.

It was very powerful for an adult to write alongside students, to share their hesitancy and openly talk about finding poetry difficult and to read out what they’d written.  It made us all think about writing as an activity that we continue to strive to be better at, and that sharing our work and talking about it is a good thing, and that it’s ok to feel a bit nervous about it.  I am witnessing at first hand how a writing residency in a school benefits a wider community.  I’m so grateful to the teacher for coming to my lunchtime club!

Another lovely thing that happened was that one of the English teachers took my ‘As free as a …’ group poem (really a list of similes about freedom that I’d gathered from working with several groups) into their lesson and used it to write with their class.

Students wrote (and drew) on sheets of unlined A3 paper and we pinned up these ‘freedom’ poems along the corridor.  Later, during Open Evening, visitors wrote their own ‘freedom’ poems on cut out birds or leaves and attached them to the wall. So a free-flowing display has taken shape, with our shared resources and different students work available for everyone to read.  I love the way the whole department has got behind the idea of my residency and that so many students and visitors have been able to participate in this exciting venture in a short space of time. I love being part of it!






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