Year 8 pupils at Hardenhuish School were inspired to get creative with their poetry writing this week when they attended a series of workshops in the school library hosted by performance poet and multiple slam winner, Ash Dickinson.
The sessions are part of a war poetry unit that Year 8 have been studying in English this term and their aim was to broaden their knowledge of poetic techniques whilst strengthening their understanding of the subject. It also gave them the opportunity to share their own ideas, work in groups and receive expert advice on ways to develop their writing further.
During the workshops, Ash helped the pupils to compose six-line poems of 26 syllables called shadormas before focussing on war poetry more fully. Analysis of famous works like ‘In Flanders Fields’ was combined with the chance to craft their own war poems and the pupils responded brilliantly to the sessions, with many commenting on how fun the workshops had been.
The pupils also thoroughly enjoyed listening to some of Ash’s award-winning poetry on diverse and topical subjects ranging from Donald Trump to robots and Minecraft, which he has performed at literary festivals around the world, as well as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Following his visit, which was his tenth to the school, Ash Dickinson said “Hardenhuish’s Year 8s were fantastic! Their attitude towards me was wonderful, not to mention their approach to the theme of war which we undertook. They wrote such mature, considered, empathetic responses, and mobilised the English language to great effect. It was a really lovely visit!”
Ash’s most recent collection, “Strange Keys”, was published in April 2016. His debut collection, “Slinky Espadrilles” was released in 2012.