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Young poets perform their work at Young City Poets Festival

07 Jun 2024

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On Thursday 6th June, we hosted the Young City Poets Festival at St Paul’s Cathedral, an event where Young Poets from across London perform the poems they have written on our Young City Poets project, run in partnership with the City of London Corporation.

Over 50 Young Poets from Years 5-9 performed poems inspired by cultural venues they have visited, from Tower Bridge to Keats’ House, in front of an audience of other pupils and their teachers.

‘Poetry makes me go into another world’

One of the performing pupils

There were also performances from two brilliant professional poet, Thembe Mvula and Arji Manuelpillai, the former who had worked with some of the students in the room on the project.

'Being able to help young people in London to make their own connections with these spaces through writing poetry is such a great way to foster positive relationships to spaces and an artform that can often feel inaccessible. It's always such a joy to watch young people's confidence and writing skills develop during a workshop, and for poetry to feel more like something they can make their own.’

Thembe Mvula, Poet

Hosted by musician/poet duo Simon Mole and Gecko in St Paul’s beautiful OBE Chapel, it was a fantastic, inspiring event that brought poetry to life and celebrated the achievements of our brilliantly creative, imaginative and confident new Young Poets. The young performers even left with a gift bag of poetry books donated by Faber.

The Young City Poets programme aims to engage reluctant writers with poetry writing and performance, and change their perceptions of poetry by exploring how poems work and playing with language, rhythm, volume and movement to discover each pupil’s individual poetic style.

Our research indicates that poetry has great potential to engage reluctant young writers because of its formal dynamism and playfulness.

'Our pupils love poetry – especially the freedom it gives them as writers and performers. Young City Poets, with its cultural visit and poet workshop, has again inspired this year’s cohort to produce some fantastic poems. Our pupils are so excited about performing them at the upcoming festival!’

Robert MacKay, Teacher at West Acton Primary School

At the Young City Poets Festival we saw previously reluctant, and perhaps reserved, pupils shine in front of an audience when performing their own original work.

To inspire a love for poetry in your classroom, check out our free National Poetry Day resources for early years right up to Key Stage 3.

For families and parents, check out our Words for Life website for ideas and activities for exploring poetry at home.

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