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National Poetry Day: SPC Gets Lyrical!

Thursday September 28th marks National Poetry Day, and it’s often one of the highlights of the Twitter year for me as I see people of all ages posting and sharing efforts to celebrate the day. Creativity is addictive, and we couldn’t resist having a go ourselves; read on to see how challenging the team went!

At its very core, poetry is the ultimate way to express emotions and visuals through the use of words – metaphor, simile, and symbolism, for example. The benefits of both writing and reading poetry are many and well researched, so its continued presence on the National Curriculum is not surprising. Here are just a few of the reasons to celebrate, read, and write poetry.

It can help teach rhythm
The study of literary devices in poetry will often start at the foundations of the poem – its rhythm or beat. It can be hard to imagine words on a page having a beat, so saying them aloud is a great way to help students understand where the emphasis will fall on particular syllables when poems are written in a certain style. Shakespeare, for example, was known to have written a large number of his verses in iambic pentameter.

Developing literacy through wordplay
Poems are essentially a form of wordplay, and the sounds and shapes that words make in the context of a poem can be brilliantly inspiring to young minds learning about language. It can also help pupils to develop their skills in recognising patterns in words [source]. Experimentation with syntax, grammar, and punctuation demonstrates the extent to which wordplay can transform the meaning of the words on a page.

Expression of the self
It’s a long-regarded trope that all poets must be tortured and in turmoil; but the rich and varied

Spike Milligan (source: iMDB)

library of works out there assures of a much broader range of emotions. Indeed, there were many prolific writers of ‘dark’ poetry (Lord Byron being a notable example), but there have been poets that specialise in other emotional ranges. William Blake, for example, is among the best-known names in romantic poetry. Jumping forward to more recent times, Spike Milligan was well known for his comedic verse.

They can be observational in a historical context
Wilfred Owen is one of the most recognisable names for people who’ve studied English Literature at any stage, and almost exclusively for verse written at the time of the First World War. His poem ‘Dulce et decorum est’ is still widely circulated on remembrance day and appears in poetry anthologies worldwide. The UK government still appoints a Poet Laureate – a poet who will be called upon to write verse for special occasions and events to reflect the public mood. This interview with former poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy highlights some interesting aspects of writing on such a large scale under specific pressures.

SPC Tackles Haikus!
Much as we’d all love the time to have a go at crafting beautiful epic poems, time constraints meant that when I challenged our team to write poetry about planners, the response was exclusively in the form of haikus. Here are some of the highlights; can you do better?

Time-poor and tired
Watching stacks of paper grow
Let us help with that

I have no ideas
My pages are bland and plain
Library of pages

Too much to handle
Organising thoughts and work
Planners help students

Planners fall apart
Metal bends, page tornado
Plastic coil binding

Our planners don’t work
How can we reward students?
Custom planner. Done.

Raising attainment
It’s hard; so much pressure
Try bespoke. Saviour!

Our planners are sweet
Keeping your life organised
Does help to write neat

I tore a planner
Thin paper, weak covers; frail.
Not with SPC.

No time left ’til term!
Don’t regret any time passed;
We make planners fast.