The children of Hull – and National Poetry Day

May 15, 2017

Poets to take up residency in Hull schools

This week poets will take up residency in four Hull primary schools to run workshops with pupils to encourage students, teachers and staff to read, write and create poetry as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Each child will create a poem to take home: their work will also be showcased in a special performance and feature in a school poetry anthology on the 2017 National Poetry Day theme of Freedom.

The poetry residency gives a foretaste of the poetry excitements to be found in Hull on National Poetry Day on 28 September, when the city will host dozens of high-profile poetry and spoken word events including Contains Strong Language, a new national spoken word and poetry festival delivered in partnership by Hull 2017, the BBC and Humber Mouth.

Both the residency and National Poetry Day are organised by the Forward Arts Foundation and the pupils’ poetry on freedom will contribute to the creation of resources for other schools to use nationwide. These resources will include images, how-to guides, films, toolkits and posters and they will have an immediate after-life as examples for other schools in Hull to follow. They will also be made available on the National Poetry Day website for other schools around the country to use to prepare for 28 September.

Michael Good, a teacher at Alderman Cogan school in Whitworth Street, Hull, one of the participating schools, said: “We are delighted to be taking part in this project as it provides our students with a great opportunity to encounter poetry that they may not experience in other ways, to meet professional poets and learn what inspires them. I hope that these sessions will create memories that stay with them for years to come.”

On Tuesday 16 May, the four poets will perform their own work, also based on the themeof freedom, to an adult audience at Kardomah94 in Hull. Andrea Reece from the Forward Arts Foundation said: “We want to inspire a love of poetry in people of all ages and backgrounds and to nurture and support talent. In creating a mini-festival of poetry with the children and teachers of Hull, we hope to inspire other places in the UK to experiment with new ways of bringing poetry into everyday life in the run-up to National Poetry Day.”

Martin Green, Chief Executive and Director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, said: “It has always been a key aim of the Hull 2017 project to give all school-age children the opportunity to be involved in cultural activities. Being involved in the arts empowers children and has been shown to improve life chances and educational outcomes, along with making us healthier.

“The legacy that this year leaves for the people of Hull is a priority for me and the work we are doing with our partners in schools and colleges is central to that.”

The poetry residencies are part of a number of activities and initiatives across the city celebrating poetry and literature, including the Big Malarky, Contains Strong Language and the Humber Mouth festival.

Read the press release in full