Winter with Eva – Lockdown vlog

Join me & beat the social isolation blues, as I read a poem-a-day from my debut poetry pamphlet.

Day 1: https://youtu.be/D3oDQ4wFONg

Day 2: https://youtu.be/pO6HqWHgm14

Day 3: https://youtu.be/xNix4hO4A1g

Day 4: https://youtu.be/OGKajshg8xo

Day 5: https://youtu.be/6sUv6mKXXfY

Day 6: https://youtu.be/6hWkntfAWI8

Day 7: https://youtu.be/HO_MMe6ZX_s

Day 8: https://youtu.be/5NcEClU6qwU

Day 9: https://youtu.be/PUa-O4wJ-vg

Day 10: https://youtu.be/U1R-xY9yTi8

Day 11: https://youtu.be/8cx-7_A2MPY

Day 12: https://youtu.be/xlhsFpGtRYE

Day 13: https://youtu.be/8eJyvFm1oRY

Day 14: https://youtu.be/VjZPBwqIeSE

Day 15: https://youtu.be/xlduV1izF3c

Day 16: https://youtu.be/rLICoBbVMsQ

Day 17: https://youtu.be/Oz-1T_fzgIw

Day 18: https://youtu.be/3vsMe1bqk28

Day 19: https://youtu.be/bJobZxVp-Ac

Day 20: https://youtu.be/Uo7h-QFPtyY

Day 21: https://youtu.be/AGQsW82GJJ0

Day 22: https://youtu.be/OY7pUQYtpwc

Day 23: https://youtu.be/C8qeaspcGeQ

Day 24: https://youtu.be/qAK2r_V3TvE

Day 25: https://youtu.be/CBH7HttN1xY

Day 26: https://youtu.be/Y5nDryIVJNM

Day 27: https://youtu.be/eIdyb87GJEA

Day 28: https://youtu.be/1gyGOhewrW4

Day 29: https://youtu.be/lH_1eg5KiM8

Day 30: https://youtu.be/ZbZmeEUrMG4

How to sum up the summer term…? Patron of Writing Update

‘Expect the unexpected.’ That’s been proven to be so true for me, this year! Covid-19 has brought extreme challenges for many of us but I can definitely see how my work has grown, through it.

As I was no longer able to meet face-to-face with our DGS Young Writers group after March this year, we grew into an online group. Many of the year 9 and 10 writers have been working with me, and keeping up with each other ‘virtually’ and working with them has been a genuine joy! Thank you to all of them, for their resilience, mutual support and encouragement, during lockdown.

I’m immensely proud of them and their writing, and we launched our Lockdown Poetry Anthology on June 30th. If you haven’t read it yet, then please go and check it out, here.

It’s also been fantastic to keep mentoring our school Poet Laureates, remotely. Iris and Keira have written some deeply thought-provoking, feeling poems this year – well done to them both and I’d like to wish Iris good luck as she moves on into Year 12.

In terms of my own writing, I reached a milestone in June, completing another long narrative poetry sequence. It’s satisfying when you get some thing to the point of pre-publication completion! More on that next year. My poetry book ‘Winter with Eva’ is still available to buy direct from V Press, or I’d be delighted to personally send you a signed copy! Just get in touch.

I’d like to end the year with a poem from our Lockdown Anthology, which opens up for us what school can be like, and how vital home can be. It’s by young poet Claire Hague, in Year 9.

See you all, IN PERSON I hope, in September!

Lockdown – it gives us poetry

It’s time to enjoy the last poems of the school year, from young Didcot Girls’ School Poet Laureates Keira Mason (year 8) and Iris Rogers (year 11).

These two have learned a lot this year and it’s been special for me to mentor them in their poetry. Mentoring is always a two-way street and I’ve come away richer, thanks to the two of them.

Lockdown has brought with it so much, a lot of it tangled and constricting, but it’s also made us look outwards at the world, a little bit more. I think these two poems reflect this.

Do please share and enjoy them.

*New poem* from the DGS Upper School Poet Laureate

One of the best bits of my role as Patron of Writing, is to publish new work by the young writers I have the privilege of mentoring.

Today, I get to share the latest work from talented year 11 student, Iris Rogers. This is my third year working with Iris and it’s been amazing to watch her development and to support her on her writing journey.

Congratulations, Iris!

Heart-stopping words from our SBS School Poet Laureate…

Frustratingly, our St Birinus School Poet Laureates didn’t get the chance to perform their poems to the school community this term, due to school closures. However, school closures definitely don’t stop us from being, from thinking and creating … and here’s the proof:

Please take a moment to stop and take in this latest commissioned poem, from SBS Upper School Poet Laureate Jake McGhee, who was writing in response to the commission theme: risk.

Please share it too! (With thanks, on behalf of Jake.)

A Platform for Poets: meet the Poet Laureates!

Jake McGhee, (year 10, left) & Walter Andrews-Ajawin (year 8)

Following on from yesterday’s post about the stunning poetry being written at Didcot Girls’ School by their two young Poet Laureates, I’m chuffed to tell you that, this school year, St Birinus School has two official poets of their own to shout about! 

At the risk of sounding like a cracked record,  I’m very much enjoying mentoring these two impressive poets! They constantly surprise me by the depth and maturity of their subject choices and craftsmanship. It’s a lot of fun sitting down together and talking poetics and performance! 

Please take a look at their latest work, which they’ll be performing in front of packed audiences of staff and students at St Birinus School. 


‘Not a Soul’ by Jake McGhee
‘The Classroom Quarry’ by Walter Andrew-Ajawin

Introducing [drum-roll]… our Poet Laureates

So today and tomorrow, I’ll be showcasing the latest work by the incredibly talented young poets, who earned the title ‘Poet Laureate’ earlier this year, in their schools.

It’s a genuine privilege to be able to work closely with these writers, as part of my role as Patron of Writing at Didcot Girls’ School and Saint Birinus School.

Starting today with DGS, here are our two young poets: Keira Mason (left, year 8) and Iris Rogers (year 11).

Keira and Iris, the DGS Poet Laureates for 2019-20

I meet Keira and Iris every term (six times over the course of the school year), to work with them on refining their work, to give them their new poetry commission and to coach them in rehearsing prior to their poetry performances. In between these face-to-face meetings, we keep in contact by e-mail, and I send them feedback on their early drafts, as well as hand-selected poems that I think will inspire and challenge them.

I’m delighted to share their latest pieces with you! These were written in response to the commission ‘Risk Taking’ and the young Laureates have performed these in front of year group audiences, at Didcot Girls’ School (which is another impressive achievement).




Where my heart lies in the darkness of my safe space: the poetry workshops continue…

‘Safe Spaces’ – Image by Lara, year 9

I’m now 8 hours and 180 students in to my poetry workshops at Didcot Girls’ School, with year 9. It’s been brilliant, and there’s still more to come.

There has been a vast amount of creativity, imagination and powerful writing in all the sessions. I’ve been lucky enough to work with all groups across the prior attainment spectrum. The young writers are all phenomenal.

As well as writing, we’ve had rich discussions about poetic form, where poems come from and how we might start to write them.

This blog post is a micro showcase of some of their writing. All these drafts were written playfully and experimentally, in under 15 minutes, in response to reading Mary Jean Chan’s ‘Safe Space’ sequenced poems, from her latest collection, ‘Fleche.’


National Poetry Day 2019

With my Didcot Girls’ School Patron of Writing hat on, I had a lot of fun planning a poetry takeover for National Poetry Day. The students explored the life and words of environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, and wrote poems inspired by her, around the theme of climate change.

Please enjoy these poems, created by year 9 student, Paulina Sieczka, during the takeover session (with huge thanks to Paulina, for letting me share them!)

2 Poems after David Attenborough

By Paulina Sieczka

The day must be short,

they must be happy.

The eagle saw darkness

in the man-made chamber.

A huge burning fire

staring at each other like you and I.

Climb Mount Everest

O goat.

But quickly, quickly,

before it all melts.


I asked David, where to put my mittens?

‘Put them in the bin,’ he said,

‘our world is one big sin.’

I asked dear David, how long do I have left?

He replied, said,

‘Not long darling, respect it:

respect the trees, respect the sea.’

I asked my man David, how can I help?

He said, ‘all that’s left is for our prayers

to be heard.’