He caught the mosquito. Their heads never raising; First came the giving, now comes the taking away, My brother and I used to have Burns’ poems and songs as lullabies, including this one, so it was an easy choice. He stood in his shoes Black skins, babel – and the sun A treatment kind and fair; His ideal is the ‘unaffected naturalness’ he attributes to James Fenton’s performance of his poem ‘Jerusalem’. And tell us all about your brother – Alzheimer’s Society encourages people to share their experience of living with dementia by submitting poetry or stories to the ‘Your Story’ page on their website. And charging along like troops in a battle, He even brushed and curled his hair, Rachel is an ambassador for UK charity SANE and Vice President of United Response. Lifting his great disc of whiteness, You shall go to the orchard, and then you will see At the relevant moments, I hold an imaginary shell to my ear; I wave my five fingers languidly; I do a bit of walking sideways (though I don’t blow bubbles); and I hold a stone that grows from small to large. “I’ve got to have a second helping!” Malcolm Drakes is the Headteacher of Broadford Primary School – which is situated in Harold Hill, Romford. But children and families, students and teachers, could go further with it, of course. “There is another shore, you know, upon the other side. The building of the mythology around the Magi is an expression of a natural desire to give flesh to these enigmatic characters. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”. haldi, heaped like powder-paints. Back to when he was squirming in a net, But when night has flowered, While the class had been trying to get the story, they were fairly loud, with some off task chat as they struggled with it. How I wonder what you are ! to climb aboard Lie still, do not go. Some of us made video-recordings together, recording our recitations as they were displayed on the screen in online video chat applications. There I'll establish a city for me: And noble knights and ladies fair It was co-founded by Andrew Motion (Co-Director of The Poetry Archive) and Julie Blake ) Co-Director of The Full English and Education Director of The Poetry Archive) in February 2012. what kinds of poems were held in people’s memories and had become particularly important to them; how memorised poems tended to connect to life experiences; and how memorisation affected participants’ understanding and experience of the poem. So, for this week’s blogpost, we asked Mike Dixon to talk us through the pleasures and treasures of the new Romantic Poetry showcase. And the Blue Baboon, who played the flute, Swung with all his weight upon it, I didn’t write the poem specifically for the film. Here at Poetry By Heart Towers, it can occasionally be forgotten in the midst of various and deadly administrative and marketing tasks that come flying our way that it is only the workers at the coal face who make the competition possible. This body of memorised and recited material constituted the Qur’ān, an Arabic word that means ‘recitation’. One of the most celebrated figures in American poetry, Robert Frost was the author of numerous poetry collections, including including New Hampshire (Henry Holt and Company, 1923). Sway and swirl in the waves, The word ‘threshold’ is ambiguous – it could be a physical threshold (the woman coming in from the cold) or it could be the threshold between life and death. even if The sounds, patterns and rhythms of names. He’ll sleep till warm weather comes in, Poor thing! The Turkey, poor soul! But, now I’m getting older all these pleasures I have found. that my Grandma makes Poetry By Heart is a national competition in which young people in key stages 2, 3, 4 and 5 choose poems they love, learn them by heart and perform them in a school or college competition. And I think there are some valuable lessons we can draw from these films. and I was a pen He did not know I saw; Nothing but silence and empty space; Outside the daffodils are still as wax, I’m lazy but I also like to show off my students so I host the night too, inviting a panel of judges made up of local heads, the Editor of the Northern Echo and, last year, Matilda Neil who gave a stunning performance (another advantage of living in the north east.) The English writer and Anglican cleric John Donne is considered now to be the preeminent metaphysical poet of his time. Through the shaking tree family whether dwellers in woods, I am confident that should anyone ask my class if they enjoy poetry their answer would be yes. I load my little boats with shiuli flowers from our garden, and hope that these blooms of the dawn will be carried safely to land in the night. I can imagine him smiling when he read back over it, rolling it round his mouth, savouring it, like a vintner, taking a craftsman’s pleasure as he sculpted it in to the baritones of his famously resonant reciting voice. Whose woods these are I think I know. Ouch! To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you? When he saw the fish rise upward, He wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets. Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance? The results were amazing! The north wind doth blow, bodies. Continue. Plain fields and dusty hedges: Such revelations continued for the remaining 23 years of his life and it was during the month of Ramadan each year, it is said, that he rehearsed everything that he had already memorised. is it weed, or fish, or floating hair, We did not want to launch in to a detailed analysis of whatever Jane Austen was on the specification that year much as we all loved her novels. You bet! Five and twenty ponies, Miss-I’ve-broke-my-ruler blues. Another area that especially interests us is how the ‘voice’ of the poem – with all its distinctive cultural and historical resonances, and affiliations – merges with the voice of the speaker. I researched and wrote brief biographies of each of them, and found some of the stories of women from earlier eras immensely moving. ‘My Great Big Darling, ‘Deed-a-reedle,’ said the fiddle, Sing heigh ho! Time will tell how this will shape our collective cultural life’. At others I have laughed. Gillian Clarke’s famous poem about conducting a poetry reading in a hospital captures the moment when a man who has not spoken for many years suddenly recites Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’: The nurses are frozen, alert; the patients Let me highlight those. Fresh October brings the pheasant; On perceiving that all his toes were gone! And a breaking the hoops of butter-casks; The size It may have been as early as primary school with some of the lyrics from “Songs of Innocence and of Experience”. But the general principle the Morse films draw on – poetry developing capacity for lateral thinking – is nevertheless a sound one, with potential value in a wide variety of different contexts. The Journey of the Magi, http://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/journey-magi, ‘For Freedom of Spelling: the Discovery of an Art’, performances given by Poetry By Heart participants, https://theemmapress.com/shop/malkin-paperback/, The Power of Poetry For People With Dementia, http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/love-iii/, Romford Primary Schools Celebrate Poetry Week, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2a6zCR-ycs, Memorisation, Recitation and the Muslim Tradition, ‘Fifty Poems’ at Lucy Cavendish College – University of Cambridge. With, Poetry, it seems, is having a much needed and long-awaited revival, with increasingly more collections being published and poetry slowly finding more shelf space in bookshops and on award-winners lists. Not just a little snow, oh no. The poet Don Paterson often describes a poem as ‘a little machine for remembering itself’. the fiddles and the flutes were the finest in the land! and arm bones flap, 2)      (A)’Ae fond kiss and then we sever’ Robert Burns  (B) ‘Since there’s no help come let us kiss and part’ Michael Drayton. This in turn undoubtedly contributes to the memorised poem’s vital role as an emotional resource, but it is probably the combination of this mnemonic property with an internalised sense of the poem’s formal structure that enables it to work so effectively, as often reported, as a container for strong emotion. The competition element and excitement of competing beyond school level. And you shall see the beautiful things Often poetry calls for a more restrained response – quiet conviction, a slower revelation of meaning which allows the audience to meditate on what they are hearing. By the end of the term, the students’ test results improved significantly, their attitudes were positively transformed, and more importantly, they no longer feared poetry but saw it as something to which they could respond, once they found the right point through which to personally connect with the poem. We worked with the great team at Dialogics (http://www.dialogics.com/) who have the peculiar skill of being able to appear in five places at once and whenever you need them. I begin by using the website, www.poetrybyheart.org.uk as a learning resource. To submit visit www.developingdylan100.co.uk. The latest is called Best-Loved Poems, so I was on a mission to gather well-known, familiar verses that readers would remember their own first encounters with, rather than uncover more obscure gems. And then it started snowing. But mind now, Conrad, what I say, The poems could be humorous as in O’Brien: and they could be sad when Lawson tells of Harry Dale: Alas poor Harry and Rover drowned! Chill December brings the sleet, for picnickers out in the glade. We may build out homes on your lovely Hat: He’s outwardly respectable. This is one of the greatest things about College life here – every person has a different story to tell. This kind of raging performance isn’t the only effective kind, of course. It was important to me to include voices from different eras, points of view and places, so that each reader would find something that struck a chord with them, and so the anthology would have a varied music to it. In summary, we believe these insights constitute an important perspective for current educational culture, where poetry memorisation is sometimes perceived as purely functional (a means to an end), as a superficial form of engagement, or even as a counter-productive practice. night When we choose a poem to memorise we are drawn towards something in it. I wish I could tell you after a week That’s the story you tell.’, Almost simultaneous to this understanding comes a process of making a physical connection with the words. Of course, pupils were still expected to memorise chunks of literature – ironically for the prosaic function of illustrating points in essays, rather than any deep, intrinsic purpose. From street to street he piped advancing, When Allen Ginsberg performed, it frequently looked as if he was possessed by the poetry, as if for those moments he was something – or was in touch with something – larger than himself. The next group has to start with the previous group’s line and then give their own. The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; That he has been there, and made a great rout, And although I got to work OK, it was clear that the east of the county was getting far more. It’s also opened doors into poetry rooms our students might not have otherwise found the key to. Through the Cat on your lap If you want to recite a smaller part of it, we recommend sections five, six or seven. Who on earth was she and why was she sent? And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known Into a sea of dew. Our old cat has kittens three — As an English teacher and poetry-lover, I was looking for ways to bring poetry to life in the classroom and to move students away from thinking that poetry was just about studying a small number of poems for a final exam. And ships are tossed at sea, Ben is also a curator and tattooist. In habite as an heremite unholy of werkes, Wente wide in this world wondres to here.’  (‘Piers Plowman’ The Prologue – lines 1 to 4). It was often very cold and very dark except for the evenings where I could step into warm libraries and arts centres and theatres and watch young people making the most of their talent and their voice. You’ll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs, with the sound of the kiss Spread the word on social media. Wells (in his essay ‘For Freedom of Spelling: the Discovery of an Art’) and Simon Horobin (in his 2014 book Does Spelling Matter? ) “This experience has transformed not only my teaching of poetry but how the children in my class relate to it. Are the best of food for me! Shake your brown feet, honey, That her numerous progeny scarcely were fledg’d; We will definitely continue with the English version here in France in 2021 and aim to encourage even more schools to get involved. Playground-duty- Buzz-z! Recently I saw a fantastic production of King Lear at the National Theatre and I remember feeling absolutely in awe of Simon Russell Beale who not only gave a faultless performance in the central role, remembering massive chunks of text but delivered the performance so clearly that I understood the plot, having not really known the story. Tracey Guiry Eating wee gumdrop worms that the mother hen brings. Ye spotted snakes with double tongue, Such chirping, such whistling, such clearing of throats, With some towels– Back to you, gesturing in the distance? Our next big project though is to set up a bilingual version with the possibility of allowing students to recite poems in both French and English – this really would be a lovely way to celebrate poetry from different cultures. When Grandma opened it, she saw tu-whit! The querulous, perilous sea! ‘Never cut a pomegranate But the longer I live on this Crumpetty Tree In this way, Candlestick’s approach could be said to have something in common with Poetry by Heart. with things on a fork. Who knew last summer when we started thinking about our poem-posters that we would all be engulfed by the outbreak of Covid-19? Word for word?’, ‘Yes, seriously. With such starkly differential access for students to computers and other devices at home now, our approach looks prescient, though of course it wasn’t. It often feels that we never really stop the ongoing celebration of Shakespeare’s life and works but we thought we could help students to discover something new. shame upon you! He went and knocked on Grandma’s door. A quiet performance may still render the poem highly personal and distinctive. As the ‘Fifty Poems’ Project demonstrates, writing is all about individuals experiencing and exploring universal emotions: love, anger, frustration, doubt, hope, joy. Additionally, they were a part of a non-traditional school environment, which, in Jamaica, meant that they were seen as low academic achievers from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. And yet I know my fairy land In this blogpost, Julie Blake explains what Poetry By Heart’s Poem of the Week is up to. We think some tremendous group recitations will emerge when using poems where the musicality, energy and rhythm of the verses stand out. I am lucky to have a very supportive English teacher, Helen Mars, who is my ‘partner in crime’ for Poetry by Heart. By the Turkey who lives on the hill. You hear a lot about how terrible teenagers are. This was a time before the ready availability of colour reproductions of Blake’s books. Sailed off in a wooden shoe— Something beautiful, hold me close, What is orange? I’m that hell-for-leather, lunging, plunging, helter-skelter COMET. The Peacock resplendent, unfurl’d his broad fan, A windpuff-bonnet of fáwn-fróth In his birch canoe came sailing, And here is a mill and there is a river: The teenagers delivered poems that included Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias’, an extract from Milton’s Paradise Lost, Rupert Brooke’s ‘The Soldier’, and others by modern poets including James Fenton, Imtiaz Dharker and Jacob Polley. Fly as thick as driving rain; And when you think he’s half asleep, he’s always wide awake. Dairy free omelettes Being aware of the power of poetry learned by heart and its recitation, the idea of sharing this kind of experience during the crisis made sense. birds At all, at all, at all. Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three: Okay, chair is a very neutral word and it’s hard to imagine a ‘chair like’ sound but compare that to the potential in a word like ‘slow’. stay with me, Cat. Does it please you? Students also examined the use of tone and the power of the speaker’s persona and voice in representing events, situations and emotions within the poem. Nationally, and within our school, it is growing steadily, and is particularly appealing to students who aim to pursue any career which might involve public speaking. And to the presence in the room he said, When night comes I bury my face in my arms and dream that my paper boats float on and on under the midnight stars. My first challenge was how to solve the problem of making the randomly chosen poem available for the students to work on, as soon as it had come up. Let me give an example. And the Dodo — who chapron’d the two Miss Cushews; So Emily got out her scissors and in a spirit of feverish irreverence (allowed even if you’re not a ghost), started snipping and stitching and sampling her way through the anthology. With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood - Michael Rosen recently tweeted “Poets don’t know all the meanings of their poems. Sorley’s own poem “Rain,” written in 1912, tells readers where to find him: When the rain is coming down, As a complete contrast with Jessie Pope’s dynamism, but sitting cheek by jowl with it in Emily’s monologue, is the meditative, inward pace of the rhetorical question, ‘who shall deliver us from the memory of these dead?’. As green as He is good! Much of Jorj’s working life has involved the education of 16-19-year-olds. In this week’s blogpost, we share Nina’s video (which includes our Director, Julie Blake, reciting T.S. Whose “voice” speaks prophecy – is it the poet or some other? The reader has to have courage and honesty as well. Now we’ve added four more designs by Ben, for Percy Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias’, Christina Rossetti’s ‘A Frog’s Fate’, William Blake’s ‘London’ and John Clare’s ‘I Am’. From my boat 657 likes. When I was young I had no time to sit and look around. the howly fowl! —And that’s how umbrellas first were invented. the prowly owl! We learnt about the battles, the tactics and the casualties. Georgina’s elder sister, being a “huge Oscar Wilde fan”, helped her to pick The Ballad of Reading Gaol, whereas Georgina chose The Wedding as she liked the way in which it built up using similes, and finally Rain, a poem which she knew of before the competition and really enjoyed. Ramadan, then, is not only a month of fasting but is also a month of intense reading and revision. It was then that my mother – my constant nurse and companion – would sit by my bedside and repeat a line from Corinthians (the Bible being naturally rich with poetry): ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: my strength is made perfect in weakness.’. Interestingly, I think participating in the competition has also really improved my students ‘ability’ to respond to poetry in a more exploratory manner, in their written work. 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