Birmingham poet laureate Kurly McGeache comes to Smith’s Wood.

Report by Mrs Morris.

We will bring some inspiration/to year seven’s education: Birmingham poet laureate Kurly McGeache comes to Smith’s Wood.
What better way to start our report than a quotation from one student’s work?
‘My words are like fire as I want to aspire
to improve my education through creative participation.’
Well done to this student for capturing the essence of an educational treat organised by the English Department: a workshop and poetry taster lesson for year 7 students delivered by visiting poet Kurly MC.

Kurly McGeachie is a winner of the National Trust award for audience engagement as a poetry guide, he was not only Birmingham Poet Laureate 2017-18, but is a trained Art Awards Advisor and former English teacher who now uses poetry and Hip-Hop to deliver literacy enrichment and curricular engagement workshops throughout the UK. He has worked with UNICEF, the British Council and Birmingham City Council amongst others.
Kurly delivered his workshop four times throughout the day, each time to different classes of year 7 and year 8 students. To start with, he would thrill the audience with his “free styling”, seemingly effortlessly finding rhymes with the most difficult words suggested by the students, and even showing them how to make rhymes with notoriously difficult words like “orange” and “purple”! This got the students engaged, and they were then invited to write their own couplets to rhyme with “education”. It was remarkable that some of their compositions touched upon the issues of immigration and discrimination, not to mention determination.
Next came a beatbox group activity which was enthusiastically supported by all participants. Some of the students were surprised to learn that “rap” does not mean Rather Annoying Parents,  but actually Rhythm and Poetry. But can you rap Shakespeare? Of course you can! And we witnessed a ravishing rap of Sonnet 18 and its modern version, to prove it.
However, Smith’s Wood has its talents too, and our students quickly rose to the challenge. In no time they were delivering their own brilliant rap performances, and this report would not be complete without a special mention of Lovell, who after initial reluctance went on to deliver a rap created by his team which impressed everyone and really stole the show! It was original, funny, with a proper box beat and a great performance all round . Truly outstanding, and a fitting testament to a very successful and thought provoking session.

If, at the start of the workshop, some students had reservations about writing poetry, then by the end most were convinced that they could! It was great to see their confidence and creativity burgeoning with Kurly’s encouragement. He told us all a little secret: that you can even make a career out of poetry! Here at Smith’s Wood we certainly want as many students as possible to have a go at writing their own poems, so if you are inspired please submit your poems in exchange for carrots.
In conclusion, thank you to all the students who worked hard and contributed, and of course to Kurly for inspiring so many of them, and the last word comes from our students with a little rhyme created by Lauren and Shalenor:

I will aspire
to aim even higher
in my education
So I’ll tell you, my nation
That for my graduation
I must do my preparation
And show passion and determination.