Drawing of a brown bird holding a lit match in its beak

Eco-poetry National Poetry Competition writing resource from Pascale Petit

Explore two National Poetry Competition prize-winning poems that address ecological themes with poet, teacher and former NPC judge Pascale Petit.

This resource was commissioned by The Poetry Society as part of the 2020 National Poetry Competition. We recommend this resource is used for KS5 and older.

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Hope on a Postcard

Inspired by Dr Martin Luther King’s visit to Newcastle University in 1967 to accept an honorary doctorate, poets John Challis and Sinéad Morrissey were invited to run poetry workshops in a male maximum security prison. They explored, with a group of self-selecting inmates, the three themes of King’s acceptance speech: poverty, racism and war. Techniques explored include writing a Golden Shovel, a ghazal, and experimenting with enjambement. We invite you to try these exercises yourself or as part of a school or other poetry group. 

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Read more about the prison workshops in Poetry News online.

Creating Voices

This lesson plan by Teacher Trailblazer Lyndsey Chand takes an in-depth look at Enshia Li’s ‘unwritten letter from my great-grandmother to my great-grandfather, 1930’, a winning poem in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2017. This resource contains activities for KS4/5 to take place over the course of several lessons and develops students’ skills and confidence when dealing with unseen poetry as well as writing their own poems about their own family history.

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For more activities around prose poems, see Enshia Li’s Young Poets Network challenge

Drawing of reindeer in London

Hands around the Christmas Tree

Children's poet and storyteller A.F. Harrold explores the theme of friendship through poetry, focussing on the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, given by the city of Oslo as a symbol of thanks and friendship each year. You can use A.F. Harrold's two exercises and poem structure to create your own Christmas Tree poem and think about friendship at this festive time. This is a great Christmas activity for all settings, from schools and community groups to home.

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For added inspiration, read A.F. Harrold's own poem 'The Friendship Tree', commissioned as part of The Poetry Society's annual Look North More Often programme

Write Yourself an Escape Plan

Explore the National Poetry Day 2017 theme of 'Freedom' with this resource for Key Stages 1-2. After reading Brian Bilston's poem 'The Great Escape', create imaginative ways of escaping from particular places.

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Climate Change and Adventures in Writing

Helen Mort uses Romantic poetry as a springboard into exploring climate change and poetic landscapes, discussing images and key texts to build towards the final ‘challenge’: a self-portrait poem. 

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Poetry Review 103:1, Spring 2013, teachers' notes

These teachers' notes explore the Spring 2013 edition of Poetry Review. At a glance: literary heritage; language, dialect and place, poetic forms, metaphor, personification and sound, identity.

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Foyle Lesson Plan: Poems inspired by Art

Ashley Smith uses a Foyle Young Poets winning poem to show students the relationship between a poem and a piece of art which inspired it. At a glance: art, description, narrative, perspective, imagery, the senses.

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Intensive writing

Peter Samson helps pupils practice observational writing by letting details speak for themselves.  At a glance: art, imagery, poetry of place, quick exercise, using adjectives.

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Cat in the window

Poet Brian Morse uses his poem to help students write about place using a cat as the explorer. At a glance: poetry of place, using verbs, using adjectives, personification, list poems.

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