Duncan Forbes Visits Queen Anne’s for National Poetry Day

Friday 13th October 2017

On Thursday 28 September, British poet Duncan Forbes visited Queen Anne’s to deliver poetry workshops for our U4 and U5 on National Poetry Day.


The morning session saw Duncan talk to our U5 about the unseen poetry section of their GCSE exam next summer. He showed some of his own poems that feature in the anthology as well as talking the girls through a sample exam paper. He gave them several different strategies for memorising poems which is a new requirement of the GCSE English syllabus. Some of the methods included rewriting the poem out, having the poem stuck on your mirror in the bathroom for when you were doing your teeth or even repeating it aloud. One girl commented:

“It was good to hear that I have been using the most effective strategies already and that I will be in a good position for my exam.”

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In the afternoon, Duncan gave a poetry workshop for our U4s. The purpose of the workshop was to inspire a love of poetry in preparation for the beginning of their GCSE course. He explored the meanings and features of many different poems including some of his own, explaining the best ways to analyse and also come up with fresh ideas.

Lucy (U4) said:

“Mr Forbes inspired me to look around me when writing and when there is a special memory to keep it in your mind because you can use it when you are writing a personal poem.”

With the guidance of Duncan, the girls were encouraged to write their own poem in what became a creative session. It was inspirational to see the girls being given some great advice from a professional. Below are some of the comments from the girls about the day and we would like to express our thanks to Duncan for coming to share his wealth of knowledge.

“I learnt how to express myself through poetry and how to write quick and easy poems.”

“Sometimes you can avoid rhyming in poetry and the beauty of this is that you can make a song out of it.”

“It was inspiring as he never planned on doing poetry for a living.”

“It was very helpful as he showed us how he starts to write a poem and what influences him to write a poem.”

“I learnt that if you want your poem to be remembered, then you should think of it as a catchy song.”