The Poetry Possibility series: workshops for teachers

Over the week of National Poetry Day we ran a series of free-to-access The Poetry Possibility workshops for teachers seeking new ways to increase their students’ confidence, communication skills and enjoyment of language through poetry. These were funded by Arts Council England and are available to re-watch on our YouTube channel. Scroll down for more details.

Workshop Series 28 Sept – 2 Oct

Kate Clanchy, Education Adviser for the Forward Arts Foundation, has 20 years of experience helping young people to find their voices by introducing them to the best contemporary poetry. As does Peter Kahn, her Chicago equivalent, whose focus on Spoken Word in the classroom has been credited with changing the lives of young teachers and students on both sides of the Atlantic, including that of Raymond Antrobus, the first poet to win the £30,000 Rathbones Folio Prize.

Thanks to Arts Council England, we offered FOUR free online Zoom workshops with the three of them between 28 September and 2 October, plus a Young Poets Showcase on National Poetry Day with six of Kate and Peter’s students from Oxford and Chicago, emceed by Raymond. The showcase was at 5pm on the 24 Hour Poetry Lock-In on Instagram Live, hosted by leading BookTuber, @LeenaNorms.

Monday 28 Sept: Kate Clanchy –  A Safe Space for Poetry

How do you encourage self expression without risking trauma? Teacher and Orwell Prize winning writer leads a workshop in which participants will write their own poems.

Tuesday 29 Sept: Raymond Antrobus – Poems to Empower

Multi-award winning poet and leading teacher Raymond Antrobus shows you the power of poems that reflect different identities, and where to find them.

Wednesday 30 Sept: Peter Kahn – Spoken Word for Student Engagement

The best known teacher practitioner in the US shows you some of the techniques he uses to transform lives in a school just west of Chicago.

Thursday 1 Oct: Young Poets Showcase on the 24 Hour Poetry Lock-In (Instagram Live) with Raymond Antrobus

Inspirational young poets demonstrate what poetry can do in a life – and what the life in a poem can generate. Outspoken Award winner Mukahang Limbu, First Story National Prize winner Aisha Borja plus social media phenomenon Linnet Drury performed with Kyla Pereles, Morgan Varnado and Nicholas Berry, young stars from the US coached by Peter Kahn.

Friday 2 Oct: Kate Clanchy – Your Poetry, Your Life, Your School

The culminating creative workshop in this series: a chance to ask questions and share answers about keeping creativity going in a teacher’s life.


Essential Further Reading – for teachers and poetry-lovers

Kate Clanchy is a teacher, writer and broadcaster and education advisor to the Forward Arts Foundation, which awards the annual Forward Prizes for Poetry for the best poetry of the year. Philip Pullman describes her recent memoir,  Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me as ‘the best book on teachers and children and writing that I’ve ever read’.  She also edited England, Poems from a School, an anthology of poems by students at Oxford Spires Academy, which Michael Rosen recommended as ‘a must: an explosion of moments, feelings, thoughts and images’ for ‘anyone interested in poetic, profound pictures of what it means to be young to have arrived, to be living here.’

Her latest book How to Grow Your Own Poem is out now with Picador. She has also created a special 50 page teacher resource – From Poem to Poem, a Creative Writing Guide to the Forward Prizes. Order a copy for £5 by clicking the image below.

The Poetry Possibility is a Kate Clanchy project for Forward Arts Foundation, funded by Arts Council England