Students’ war of words

Lewis Gallagher with his poem.
Lewis Gallagher with his poem.

STUDENTS put their own spin on well-known works of literature when they battled it out to see who was the best poet.

Year 7 pupils from Dyke House Sports and Technology College, in Hartlepool, took part in a competitive poetry “slam” in front of parents, carers, staff and students.

The event was the culmination of a 13-week after-school project called Project VOICE.

Project VOICE is aimed at enhancing students’ confidence and character, literacy, collaborative and communicative skills, and creativity through a focus on the spoken word.

VOICE stands for Vocal Outreach Into Creativity and Expression and the project ran once a week for a group of 55 Year 7 students.

During the project students explored a range of ideas, techniques and poetic forms.

These included styles rhyme to rap, from Shakespeare’s “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” to One Direction’ “That’s what makes you beautiful”, and from page to stage.

They worked with experts including professional poet, Dr Maureen Almond, who has read widely around the North-East, in Liverpool, London and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and Trinity Laban Conservatoire graduate Hannah McGhee, who has worked with Diversity.

The project culminated in the poetry “slam” which allowed the pupils to perform their poetry in a battle of words and expression.

Project co-ordinator Daniela Cesarano said: “Many of the students involved in this project had never written performance poetry before. However, they excelled, and some audience members, including me, were moved to tears by their words.”

The event was won by Abby Marshall whose poem was inspired by the late Nelson Mandela.