Monday the week saw a very busy but very rewarding day working with children and staff from Heathfield Primary School at Rishworth in West Yorkshire.
Working outdoors in the school’s own woodland we made lots of autumn and forest themed poetry with every year group in the school from 3 year olds in the Foundation stage through to the 10 year olds in Year 6.
I was really impressed by the enthusiasm and attention of the pupils and the staff and they should all be proud of what they have achieved. For that day we were all poets and I look forward eagerly to seeing the artworks they’ll be developing from their poems.
Here’s what the school tweeted to me after the session and above you can see a recent post on their twitter feed with photos taken by teachers on the day. It is so nice to receive such feedback but even better to hear the brand new work from children and witness their sense of achievement.
A great day, thanks to all at Rishworth, especially Miss Robinson who organised the day.
After driving around a little while my satnav tried to work out where I was I took a short walk to the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale (SEE HERE FOR MORE INFO)
First impressions: I was met at the door by a very helpful staff member who asked me whether I was a guest or audience member, checked my name and politely directed me to the bar where the event organiser would be. A good start and credit to the venue.
As I walked into the bar Sarah Pritchard the organiser introduced herself and introduced those who were already present including her co-host Mo and my fellow guest Laura Taylor. I’ve seen Laura perform some time ago but not met her for a while. Although I arrived on my own in a location where I knew nobody I never felt alone – this was certainly one of the most welcoming events I’ve attended.
Once the poetry started the two co-hosts each read a couple of pieces before Laura delivered her set including comments about how her poetic journey had developed and some truly excellent poems – body could fail to be moved by her first poem about a difficult childhood which is very cleverly written and very powerful. Laura has sometimes been seen as a punk poet, a protest poet or a political poet but tonight she showed real range and versatility as a poet.
A number of open mic slots followed and although I din’t know most of the names other than Cynthia Buell Thomas and Joy France I was impressed by the work presented and thoroughly enjoyed listening.
It was then time for my own guest slot and as I chatted about my own journey in poetry I read poems that seemed to fit including On the Edge, Seahorses and the short anti-war Truncated.
After my set it was time for a break after which everyone, including the guests, was invited to read another poem before the evening ended with warm and sincerely meant applause and lots of chat between all of those present. It was also nice to meet and chat to Paul Neads of Flapjack Press.
Nobody rushed off early which is a sign of a good night – thanks for having me as a guest poet and well done to the team!