What happens when a school becomes a seed bed for poetry? With Forward Books of Poetry as the seed packets? In 2014/15, the poet Kate Clanchy of Oxford Spires Academy decided to find out, by encouraging students throughout the school to raid the Forward Book of Poetry 2015 for inspiration for work of their own. The result is documented here in an anthology that is also a treasure trove of teaching ideas. If your school wants to carry out a Poetry Takeover – maybe in conjunction with the Forward Young Responses challenge – then get in touch.
To give you a flavour of what’s inside, here’s a testimonial from Shukria Rezaei, who wrote a sequence of responses to works in the book – and won the 2015 Forward Young Responses prize.
I am a sixth form student at Oxford Spires Academy but I was educated until I was 14 in Afghanistan and Pakistan. When I came here it was a big shock to me: I want to be an A student, but because of my English I get Bs and Cs. I am from the Hazara people in Afghanistan. Poems are very important to my people. I love to read and write poetry. I especially liked the Kevin Powers poems because of the way he wrote about war. My poems are also about war, and leaving my country. I always want to write about my heritage, even though it makes me shy. Winning the Forward Young Responses Competition made me very proud. Now I will take AS Creative Writing next year and I believe I can get an A.