Poetry & Political Language

Taking inspiration from George Orwell's Animal Farm, this resource uses critical thinking and political language to create new poems called 'couplings' (after poets Karen McCarthy Woolf and Malika Booker). Created in partnership with The Orwell Foundation, as part of the 2020 Young Poets Network writing challenge.

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Tell & See: National Poetry Day 2020 visionary poetry resource

Explore 'Diamonds' by Evelyn Byrne, a commended poem in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019 with the help of shiny fish, and celebrate this year's National Poetry Day, with the theme of Vision. Download

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Love Yourself

This lesson plan explores Cia Mangat’s ‘Love Poem to Myself’, a winning poem from the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019.

The activities can be used in a single session, or over a series of sessions.

The activities stimulated by reading Cia’s poem should inspire students to think about themselves and look to a variety of love poems as a rich source for prompting poetry writing.

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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.

Sharing the Gift of Hope at Christmas

Poet Clare Pollard guides you through a brand new festive poetry lesson on the theme of hope. Pupils will learn about personification, writing letters, metaphors and similes, all while gearing up to writing a hopeful poem inspired by Clare Pollard's 2019 Christmas Tree poem 'The Gift'. Perfect for KS1 and KS2!

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For added inspiration, don't forget to read Clare's poem 'The Gift', commissioned as part of The Poetry Society's annual Look North More Often programme

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The Power of Memory and Association

Teacher Trailblazer Gagandeep Chaggar guides you through teaching 'God in 80s Movies', a Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2018 winning poem by Em Power set in 80s films. Includes: close reading, writing your own film-inspired poem, and a note from the poet herself. Download

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6 Ways to Look at The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Discover this new KS3-4 teaching resource on the 2019 National Poetry Day theme of 'truth', written by Michael Donkor, a teacher, author and former Foyle Young Poet.

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Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market

In collaboration with the Watts Gallery and their exhibition Christina Rossetti: Vision and Verse we are exploring one of Christina Rossetti's most famous poems Goblin Market. This resource is designed for A Level students. Topics at a glance include sisterhood, consumerism, Marxism, feminism and literary critical theories. Written by Romanticism expert Dr Bethan Roberts with additional support from The Poetry Society and Watts Gallery. 

Download the Christina Rossetti A Level Resource

What is a Golden Shovel? with Peter Kahn

Poet and educator Peter Kahn has been teaching his students to write Golden Shovels for years. This “21st century sonnet” was created by Terrance Hayes when he used each word in Gwendolyn Brooks’ iconic poem ‘We Real Cool’ as part of his own poem.

Peter guides you through this exciting new form and encourages your students to create poems inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks, other poets, songwriters, film-makers and more!

Download the resource and enter your students into the Young Poets Network challenge by 31 March 2019 to win poetry prizes.

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Breaking the code with Bletchley Park

Could your students be code-breakers? This lesson plan by Sian Hughes explores nursery rhymes, nonsense verse and codes through the lens of Bletchley Park and the work that went on there.

Download the resource and find more code-breaking poetry workshops on Young Poets Network.

Read winning poems inspired by Bletchley Park written by young people here!

Illustrations by Alex Leigh Whitworth, courtesy of Bletchley Park Trust.