GCSE English Students Visit Poetry Live

Wednesday 30th January 2019

On Thursday 24 January, our GCSE English students took a trip to see Poetry Live at Reading Town Hall.


They had the opportunity to listen to seven poets speak live about their poems, which our students have been studying in preparation for their GCSE exams.


The poets in attendance were: Simon Armitage, Gillian Clarke, John Agard, Carol Ann Duffy, Imtiaz Dharker, Daljit Nagra and Owen Sheers.


Our students were also given some useful tips from a chief AQA examiner on how to answer the ‘unseen poetry’ questions in their exams.


You can read some of our girls’ thoughts of the day below:


“The entire experience was invaluable and the personal thoughts of the poets helped to bring their work to life. The opportunity to ask questions about the techniques used by the poets greatly helped in our understanding of what each one meant, and the responses were always very intricate.” – Gabriella L (U5)

“Our day at the GCSE Poetry Live was captivating and also filled with excitement. We learned more about the poems by listening to poets speaking about their inspirations, explaining the structure and the language of the poems in detail, and reading them out loud in front of us with their own perspective and emotions. This helped us, as readers, have a better understanding of the poems that may have seemed unclear and confusing beforehand.” – Zimo H (U5)

“I liked Poetry Live because it was really interesting to listen to the poets’ opinions and thoughts on their poetry. I also thought it was good because it let us hear how the poet wanted their poems to be read. I found it really useful to be able to hear what the poets intended for their poems, and this helped me understand their poems more.” – Lea B (U5)

“My favourite poet was John Agard and his poem ‘Checking Out Me History’. The reason he was my favourite was because his poem is not like any other poem in the anthology, it is very different and unordinary. When John read, he sung the poem, he did this as he told us it was his favourite genre of music called Calipsyo. John speaks ‘pidgeon English’, and makes his poem come alive as he reads it. John had a very interesting background, and his poem thoroughly portrays his opinions on ‘history’.” – Georgie M (U5)

“Out of the poets that we got to see, Simon Armitage was my favourite. I liked how he would explain where his ideas came from and how the people he met helped influence the way he wrote his poems. Armitage spoke about how many soldiers suffered with PTSD and other mental health issues. Armitage then developed his poem ‘Remains’ around many of the soldiers’ own experiences.” – Libby B (U5)