Poetry at NHEHS

On Thursday 28th September, NHEHS celebrated National Poetry Day and the theme this year was “Freedom”.

We were delighted to welcome the renowned performance poet Patience Agbabi for the day. Known for her spoken verse, Patience has published several poetry anthologies, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and is also a judge in the prestigious Poetry by Heart competition. Throughout the day, Patience ran workshops with groups of Year 10 students, focusing on the form and structure of poems and encouraging them to explore their own writing styles. The girls who participated in these workshops found them inspiring and engaging.

Girls in Years 11, 12 and 13 were also treated to a poetry reading by Patience, which included poems from her “Telling Tales” collection. These poems are based on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and have been the inspiration behind some creative writing work undertaken in Sixth Form English Literature lessons in response to A Level set texts. Inspired by Patience Agbabi, some of our Year 13 students performed their own witty and entertaining versions of the Pluto and Proserpina digression from Chaucer’s ‘Merchant’s Tale’ in assembly.   One Year 13 student, who is hoping to study Music Production at university, took this a step further and converted her own poem into a fantastic ballad with musical accompaniment.

Meanwhile, girls in Years 7, 8 and 9 had the opportunity to perform  their own poetry prepared for an inter-House competition earlier this term. The  winning poems from each Year Group were performed in front of the whole school, and these were delivered with great gusto and enthusiasm. Congratulations go to Lewhat, Hattie and Izzy for writing their excellent poems and performance.

At lunchtime the Atrium was the stage for the first ever NHEHS “Poetry Slam” competition.  Armed with a microphone,  a captivated audience and a bit of courage, girls were encouraged to recite a poem of their choice with the chance to earn points for their Houses. There were some excellent performances – some individual and some in pairs – and the winners of this will be announced later this term.

Overall, this was a busy, exciting and inspiring day for all involved, and it really did encourage our students to think beyond standard poetic material.


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