Poetry, lockdown & hair

Since September, I’ve been delivering poetry workshops to year 9 students at Didcot Girls’ School. (I get this joy because I’m lucky enough to be the school’s Patron of Writing. And I genuinely love it.)

A lot has been going on, in the first 8 weeks or with the embellishment of hand gel, face masks and the classroom line on the floor – ‘DO NOT CROSS!’ More recently, with the added complications of having my face displayed live on the classroom whiteboard, with my voice guiding the students in their imaginative writing via a remote mic and webcam.

I am learning and we are adapting, very successfully. I miss the buzz of the more natural classroom interactions but, when writing like this pops up in my email inbox straight after my sessions, I still get a glow of creative satisfaction and pride in these talented young writers.

Here’s a brief taste – thanks to Amy, year 9, for allowing me to share.

Can’t wait to introduce you…

…to the fabulous two young writers who have been selected as Poet Laureate at Didcot Girls’ School, for 2020-21! I get the opportunity to mentor them this year and I’m pretty happy about that.

I reckon the best way for you to start to get to know them, is to hear what they have to say, through their very first poems. So here they are.

Writing is such a vital tool for so many of us, to express where we are in place and time, what we’re dreaming of and what we’re believing in. In these first poems from Larika and Myfanwy, we can feel the impact of history, social pressure, the current global pandemic and the ripples from Black Lives Matter.

Watch our DGS Poet Laureates reading their new poems, here:

Read their full poems, here:

© Myfanwy Laugharne, 2020
© Larika Jones, 2020

Welcome back!

It’s a bit of a sigh of relief, to know that schools are OPEN after such a long, difficult period for so many families. I can’t wait to get back into some classrooms at Didcot Girls’ School really soon, to get all of year 9 writing poetry. It’s always a highlight of my Patron of Writing role, to be able to actively change the majority of a year group’s minds, about poetry and writing, for the better.

I’ll check back into the blog, with more on this, soon.

In the meantime, please don’t forget, DGS & SBS (Saint Birinus School) students, that we are seeking two new Poet Laureates for both schools. They get to write commissioned poems for the school, during the year ahead. They also get 1-to-1 mentoring and guidance from me, throughout the process, and to have their poems published online. Here’s a quick reminder of what you have to do, to bag this golden opportunity …

Get those poems sent in pronto! I look forward to working with you soon!

Please spread the word – thank you 🙂 .

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.)

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

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. 

Enjoy!

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