It’s time to book a poet for National Poetry Day, 28 Sept 2017

It's not too early to book Bernard Young, poet, for National Poetry Day 28 September 2017

UK’s National Poetry Day is usually the first Thursday in October, but this year it has been brought forward by a week to 28th September 2017.

The theme this year is: FREEDOM

If you are lesson planning, there are a lot of free resources for teachers on the National Poetry Day Website, including lesson plans, tool kits and posters.

The change of week and the theme, Freedom, has been chosen because of working closely with the Hull City of Culture and the BBC this year. In 2015, I visited Thorseby Primary School, in Hull, for 3 days and they had Freedom as a theme then too. If you would like to read more about what we did over that period, I’ve written about it here.

If you’d like me to visit your school for poetry performance and workshops around National Poetry Day, please feel free to contact me.

National Poetry Day Theme Freedom 28 Sept 2017National Poetry Day 28 Sept 2017 Theme Freedom

What a Wonderful World Book Day Week

Basket of tea and coffee

A warm welcome from Moorside Primary School, Swinton

I know World Book Day is just one day, but it turns into a whole week of celebrations in many schools, and for me. That’s a great thing. I was in a different school each day of the week and met so many wonderful students and staff, and many dressed as characters from books.

One thing I am finding more frequently now when I visit a school is that the day’s events are captured in images and video and tweeted before I even get home. Here are some examples.

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Many thanks for such great week to all of the staff and students at Hunslet Carr Primary School (Leeds), St Joseph’s RC Primary (Bolton), Christ Church CofE Primary School (Oldham), St Wildrid’s Primary School (Sheffield) and Moorside Primary School (Swinton).

Thank you so much for such a wonderful day. The children, staff and parents really enjoyed it and I was impressed with the poetry the children created in such a short amount of time.” Vicky Sherrington, St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Bolton

We loved every minute, thanks so much – we’re all officially inspired.” Rachel Robinson, Moorside Primary School, Swinton.

Lots of class and individual poems created at Hollin Primary School

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Two great days at Hollin Primary School this week. Thanks everyone. Nicely captured in the twittersphere:

Curie, Pankhurst and Wonderwoman in Hull

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I was thrilled to be invited back to spend 3 days in Thoresby Primary School last week. It is the second time I have been part of their Kaleidoscope festival. Once again pupils and staff gave a hundred percent and we produced class poems about Marie Curie, Emmeline Pankhurst, Fairtrade, India… and all sorts of heroes.

During this fortnight of exciting activities, the aim is to promote cultural awareness and confront equal opportunities issues in a positive way with a ‘celebration of diversity’. This year’s theme was heroes and people who have made a difference. Thoresby are prolific on social media, so I am including a few of their many tweets to give a flavour of the work produced.

I also spent a day in Stepney Primary School. The teacher who booked me remembered me doing a performance of my poem Orange Socks in a previous school. It is several years since I performed there last. I received a very warm welcome. I gave a performance to the whole school and then led workshops for KS2. They are taking part in a poetry slam shortly, and these workshops were to help get them started. I am sure they will do well. Break a leg!

Thanks again to both schools for a great time and such creative energy.

Lesson Planning For Next Term? Inviting A Performance Poet To Your School?

Bernard Young in a school arms in air

A poet in your school? Why not? The right poet (I mean me! but there are lots of us) can offer an exciting start to your school day (I include guitar and just enough joining in during my morning assembly performances). The children head off to classes with loads of writing ideas already in their heads and I then work with all ages throughout the day.

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Teachers tell me that having an enthusiastic practitioner of the art in the classroom has a tremendous effect on them and the children. Together (teachers, children, poet) we produce fantastic new poems and usually share them before home time. After that we all go home (apart from the teachers who have yet another after-school meeting to attend).

For some ideas for bringing poetry in to the class room see my collection of blog posts on the subject – classroom ideas. Another way is to have a look at some of my videos on YouTube. They can be used for a sing along break during the day, or as a springboard for other poems using the same patterns. If you want to discuss what I could do in your school and what it will cost, please contact me.

Remember UK National Poetry Day is Thurs 2 October 2014

NPD_logo_colour_landscapeUK National Poetry Day is a nationwide celebration of poetry that has been held on the first Thursday in October since 1994. The next National Poetry Day is Thursday 2nd October 2014. Every year the organisers suggest a theme to inspire events and contributions, and this year’s is Remember. Share your poems for the event via Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #nationalpoetryday or post them on the National Poetry Day Facebook page and follow the Twitter account to see what other people are doing. For more information about the day see the National Poetry Day Website.

Naturally this is a busy day for performance poets who work in schools, so it is worth booking early to avoid disappointment, and also having some flexibility around the day, perhaps having a poetry inspired week. If you would like me to visit your school, please contact me. This post will give you an idea of what a day in your school could be like.

Here’s one of mine on the Remember theme:

School Report

We never could remember
how to spell diarrhoea.
It was easier to invoke
a chill or an upset stomach
than to search for a dictionary.
But it didn’t matter
what my mother wrote
as long as her note
excused me from football
or rugby or cross-country.

Finally I openly rebelled
and raised a two-finger V
in time to be recorded for posterity
on the annual school photograph:
a brief yet permanent moment
of glory and defiance;
it went unnoticed for months
and prints were sold.
When parents eventually complained
I was caned and, unceremoniously, expelled.

This poem has previously appeared on blipfoto.

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Time to Wrap up and Rap

Cat wrapped in a blanket

Image Copyright Karen Cropper

Since the season of cold weather is upon us, here’s a poem for you to rap as you go about your business. Might warm you up. Particularly if you perform a little dance at the same time.

Wrap Up Rap

When the wind is blowing
And snow is on the way
Get your woolly hat on
Wrap up warm today

And sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up rap

Find a scarf and good thick gloves
Don’t forget your coat
Be prepared for the attack
When Jack Frost grabs your throat

And sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up rap

Here comes thunder
Here comes hail
Hear the thunder
Dodge the hail

And sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up rap

Hat for head
Socks for toes
In your scarf
Bury your nose

And sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up
Sing that wrap up rap

Bernard Young is an experienced performance poet who is available for workshops in schools, particularly primary age. He is based in Manchester, but will travel further afield. Over the years he has also worked successfully in partnership with Road Safety officers, combining the road safety message with creative writing. For more info, see the Contact page.