Two glorious days of poetry! Woodbridge School has been alive with the sound of the spoken word this week, as we have celebrated the delights of poetry with staff, parents and pupils of all ages across the School. The inaugural Woodbridge Youth Poetry festival #WYPF has seen 10 poets conducting workshops and interactive workshops with Woodbridge pupils in a true celebration of poetry leading up to the Aldeburgh Festival this weekend. The festival started with six poets holding workshops for Year 7 and 8 pupils- Ian Griffiths (nonsense words), Fred Ellis (who reads poetry?), Carol Lawrence (visual art inspired poetry) Rosalynde Price (speaking with words aloud). Tim Gardiner (Haiku) and our very own Mrs Davis (savouring the senses, a poetry collaboration about pizza!).
In the afternoon, the Woodbridge Young Poets Competition prizegiving took place in the Seckford Theatre, with family and friends gathered to hear the 24 worthy winners recite their wonderful works and to see them receive their prizes.
For those who had not yet had the opportunity to take part in the event, the evening saw a poetry reading by two wonderful modern poets, both new and shining lights in the poetry world, Vanessa Kisuule and Mark Grist, all hosted by the wonderful Amy Soapbox. Those in the audience who were perhaps unsure what to expect were soon watching in rapt delight as Vanessa took to the stage, charming, engaging, drawing us in as she talked openly about her feelings on bullying, social integration and family through her poems. A Q and A session with Vanessa sat comfortably on the edge of the stage gave more and more insight into this fascinating, delightful and inspirational young women. We were all starstruck.
Next the delightful and dynamic Mark Grist, an English Teacher from Peterborough- or a rapper, a pug lover, a beacon of hope for the disadvantaged, all wrapped up as a poet with the gift of the stand up comedian.
Two hours passed in a flash and everyone left smiling, laughing, and keen to meet with those who had delighted them during the evening, not least the large number of pupils in attendance, who formed an orderly queue to talk to Vanessa and Mark after the event. This may have been the first poetry event that the Seckford Theatre has hosted, but it will certainly not be the last.
On Thursday it was the turn of The Abbey pupils to sample some poetic delight, this time in the form of poets Rachel Piercey and John Canfield from The Emma Press. Years 5 and 6 from The Abbey, along with Waldringfield and Nacton Primary schools enjoyed the delights of an interactive reading at the Seckford Theatre; they stomped and roared as Minotaurs, whistled and roared as the sea whilst teachers took the role of sirens, delighted in choosing their martian style in a poem about the planets, and were frightful as monsters as they took on the guise of the fearful Ginny Green Teeth. In the afternoon, John and Rachel stayed for workshops at the Abbey.
Meanwhile at the Senior School, our lucky Sixth Form A level English Literature students were lucky enough to be able to experience a workshop with Mark Grist, met with understandable excitement as many had seen him perform the night before. It was insightful, productive and bold, as students shared their own work by the end of the session.
A wonderful first year for youth poetry, and the first of more to come!