When someone says ‘Poetry’, many shudder and have deep palpitations, remembering old school days gone by.
Tomorrow is National Poetry Day: a day championed by the wonderful Forward Arts Foundation. Its aim? To encourage creativity and show just how diverse forms of poetry can be whilst showing both children and adults alike how to see, hear and experience poetry in all they see.
Britain’s literary and history of the Arts is… Well, extraordinary really. We have a culture that is steeped in artistic variety, has bred world- renowned talent as well as being also rich in texts and pieces of work that have shaped our nation and the world. The beauty of days like today is that not only can you introduce younger audiences to these works and tie all that beauty together, but you can help them to add to it!
As a teacher, I am passionate about encouraging those I teach to reach beyond the boundaries they set themselves. When we write poetry, we tend to divulge private and personal information, our thoughts and feelings. For many, often myself included, this can be a terrifying prospect. However, put that experience in the classroom and children will often push themselves a little bit more than they might if they didn’t have that wee little nudge.
This year, the theme is ‘Light’. For this, I decided to draw upon the resources listed on Forward Arts Foundation’s site, looking at how artists such as Van Gogh (‘Starry Night’), Hopper (‘Nighthawks’), along with Rembrandt’s (‘Old Woman Reading’), well as looking at how inhabitants of the Chavaut Caves used light. The intention of which would be that this acted as a stimulus for pupils, along with other stimuli, such as music and videos for pupils whilst they wrote their own poem of their version of personified light. After this? Shadow Puppets are made to bring their stories to life. Performance brings an entirely new dimension to poetry, it allows those who don’t feel they can express themselves through language an opportunity to do so through their voice, their art and their entire body.
In a world where we idolise so many things which are superficial, I wanted to encourage my pupils to think beyond their usual realm of interest, beyond the idea of ‘perfect’ and really let themselves think about the world. Lessons such as this enable students to explore the importance of individual thought, of divergent thinking and of the imagination.
If you get chance, do something to mark the occasion. Whether it is reading a poem, creating a poem or even just discussing the importance of personal expression through the Arts, it doesn’t matter; all this emphasises just how important such events are to the creative culture we live in.
Until next time.
Ps: Pop Radio 4 on! They have a great range of programmes on throughout the day- I personally look forward to catching up with Marr on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight!