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Poetry by Heart

Andrew Motion, the poet laureate who co-founded the Poetry by Heart national competition, wrote - ‘learning a poem by heart’ places the poem at a central place in ourselves and makes it precious; it allows the poem to draw strength from the emotional batteries we carry everywhere inside us, and reboots them; it makes the poem a permanent fixture of our selves, so that its meanings change and develop as we grown. And as it does all these things, it combines ‘hard’ benefits (information, knowledge, even perhaps wisdom) with ‘soft’ things that matter just as much. Things like pleasure and fun and entertainment and entrancement.

Our competition was judged by Ms Wakeman, Mr Andrews and Victoria D (a previous winner).   

Sila U won the overall competition with her recitation of Musée des Beaux Arts by W.H. Auden  The section winners were:

KS3 winner:                                                    Hanna KH, reciting Envy by Adelaide Anne Procter                   

WW1 showcase winner:                         Elyce C reciting Rain by Edward Thomas  

Poetry by Heart Anthology winner: Mkiyah P reciting Lament of an Arawak Child by P Mordecai       

Thank you to everyone who took part, including Mr Peugniez who recited Allegro Ma Non Troppo by Polish poet

W.Szymborska and Mr Andrew's The Christening by Simon Armitage.

Organising Poetry by Heart was an experience we will never forget and we thoroughly enjoyed organising, presenting and performing in the event. To us, poetry is a heartfelt way of expressing yourself to others and. poems will stay with the reciter throughout their life. We were proud to be able to help share poetry by organising this competition. Truly an amazing night filled with amazing poems”.

Sila U and Caitlin O Year 10





In December 2017, students and staff of SHSG took part in our annual 'Poetry By Heart' competition. New this year was the addition of a competition commemorating WW1 poetry. We entered two contestants into the National Heat of the competition: Isabella P, who was nominated 'Star Reciter' in the KS3 section and Victoria D who was 'highly commended' in the KS4/5 competition.  As a result, both students have been invited to join Poetry by Heart, along with Poet Daljit Nagra and the cast of BBC 'Poetry Please', to visit the places that are linked to Poetry by Heart's WW1 poetry anthology. This is going to be a very special trip! 

Below, Victoria reflects on her experience of reciting 'Mametz Wood'. Mrs Wimsett

For those of you who don’t know, Mametz Wood, in northern France, was the site of a battle during the First World War, in July 1916. Throughout this poem, poet Owen Sheers, portrays a strong connection between the environment and the battle, which really stood out to me when I was choosing the poem. The imagery and choice of vocabulary that Sheers uses strongly influenced my choice of poem because as I read Mametz Wood, I could feel the experiences and emotions of the soldiers that Sheers was describing.

In preparing this poem, I took the time to learn the imagery and the meaning of the poem instead of just learning the words. I felt as though this was important to really capture the meaning of the poem, which is Sheers reflection on how the events of that week in 1916 have been buried and forgotten and the poem is therefore about offering some sort of justice or redemption for the dead. I also did a lot of research into the context of the poem and the battle at Mametz Wood so that I could gain a knowledge of what happened and what these soldiers, who are still being unearthed, experienced.

When it came to the WW1 Showcase Competition, I was of course a little nervous, however, I knew that I had put the work in and I was at the stage where I could go and compete and enjoy my poem. I think this is very important because if, on the day, you have that little bit of faith in yourself, then you can truly just feel the poem and experience it as you recite it. Overall, I really enjoyed taking part and I was thrilled to be “highly recommended” by Poetry By Heart and I would encourage any students who are interested in poetry, or would like more experience in learning, reciting and performing poetry, to participate next year.

 Vicky D