Year 11 had the pleasure of attending GCSE Poetry Live! on Thursday 23 January.
The day consisted of several sessions conducted by poets whose work we had all recently studied as part of our GCSE English syllabus, such as Carol Ann Duffy, Imtiaz Dharker and the current Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage – not forgetting the definite fan favourite, John Agard.
We also had the opportunity to hear the works of other poets, whose work we had not previously studied but were interesting to hear nevertheless.
We also had two examiner’s sessions, focusing predominantly on the ‘Unseen Poetry’ section. This was a good experience for us, as it gave us some tips and tricks regarding what we all thought to be a challenging question on the paper. After hearing a variety of poems, we finished the day with some readings by an evident favourite of the crowd, John Agard. Everyone in the room was captivated by his humour and inspirational words, not just through his poems, but also through his perceptive comments about our current world.
The whole day was very surreal for us, because not only did we hear the poems being read by the poets themselves, but they also each gave us a deep insight into the personal meaning and inspiration behind it. It was very interesting hearing directly from both poets how our own personal interpretations were their intention and were just as valid as theirs when they were writing their work.
Afterwards, there was a short question and answer session where any school student could ask a question, which was fascinating as it gave us an opportunity to also gain the point of view of our peers.
Overall, the day was a valuable experience, and we would definitely recommend it to future Year 11’s to further help them in exams, but to also encourage a further interest in poetry.
By Keerthana and Connie, Year 11