Poetry: Write, Read, Perform, Listen, Teach
It was a real pleasure to make many new poetry research friends at the Poetry, Memory and Performance conference held at Homerton College, Cambridge earlier this week and to participate in such a rich feast of ideas about sound, song and silences. Thanks to Debbie Pullinger, David Whitley and Julie Blake for organising such a special event. During the intense two days, bathed in glorious Spring sunshine, we heard from colleagues across the world about some fantastic poetry projects they are involved in. Aisha Spencer talked about use of Dub poetry as a bridge to developing response to poetry in schools in Jamaica; Georgie Horrell, Denise Newfield and Celia Van Druten explored Poetry by Heart as it is being developed in South African schools. Jane O’ Hanlon gave an Irish perspective on ‘Embodiment, performativity and learning’. Keynote speaker Catherine Robson presented a fascinating overview of the place of recitation in the classroom and Joy Alexander gave us all so much to think about in her wonderful presentation on ‘What happens, and to whom when a poem is recited?’ ‘Striking Lines: poetry made memorable’ was the title of my paper about my on-going external evaluation of the ground-breaking Spoken Word Education Project, based in secondary schools in East London. Delegates loved the snippet of the recent Cardinal Pole showcase I was able to share with them – thanks to poet Ray Antrobus and English teachers Anne Gallagher and David Evans for making this possible and to all the students and poets I have talked to about their work over the last 3 years. If you would like more information about the spoken word project please get in touch.