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Summer Summary.

The last few months have been busy ones...

In May I travelled to the Czech Republic and worked with pupils at the Lycée Francais de Prague. They really impressed me with their ability to write skilled poetry in English - which for most of them was their second or third language.

I was lucky enough to have been a guest poet at a wonderfully organised and welcoming inter -school poetry slam performed at the rather grand venue of Dillington House in Taunton. This was organised by a friendly, determined team who make up the Somerset Literacy Network.

I also visited schools in Peterborough as part of the educational venture Pop-Up Projects. It's always a pleasure to work with children and encourage their creative writing. And when I was there, I was especially pleased to have been given this poem as a gift from Amelia, a Yr 3 pupil at St John's Church School, Riseholme.

Picture - by Amelia

Eyeballs sticking and tongue licking.

Nose smelling and mouth telling.

Did you know that was a picture of a face?

Leaves cracking and sky flying.

Do you think that is a picture of a playground?

Doors slamming and maybe a dog barking.

That's what is a picture!

I love this poem - it's so fresh and original. Not a wasted word. It was written unprompted by a young poet - no older than 8 years old. What's even more impressive is that English is her second language. Well done Amelia!

One of my most memorable moments has been the day I spent with the students at Limpsfield Grange School, in Surrey. Limpsfield Grange is a state school for girls aged 11-16, many of whom are on the Autistic Spectrum.It is a unique place - not least because it has 5 dogs and a number of alpacas on site. The year 7 & 8 pupils I worked with were engaging and interested in poetry and I really hope to be working with them more in the future. Watch this space...

Then, there was the CliPPA 2017 Poetry Show... (CLiPPA 2017 Photos credit: Ellie Kurttz)

On the 14th of July I was honoured to host the Poetry Show at the National Olivier Theatre. There, I had the pleasure of showcasing the 5 shortlisted books and got to introduce performances by the poets and their shadowing schools. The winer of the CLiPPA '17 was also announced on that day. Congratulations to Kate Wakeling for her collection Moon Juice and well done to all the others who were shortlisted.

Kate Wakeling receiving her prize.

CLiPPA 2017

And finally, I am awaiting the postie and gearing up to read through and judge all the entries to The Betjeman Poetry Prize. This is a poetry competition for young people aged between 10-13 years, on the theme of Place. Good luck - and if you haven't entered, there's still week to go...

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