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Selby High School

Selby High School

Poet in residence

Liz Cashdan visit Monday 3rd-Thursday 6th June

On Monday 3rd June the students were introduced to poetry by Liz Cashdan, exploring what a poem really is – which is much harder than you would think! The group went out to the front of school to find inspiration about place and objects, taking photographs with the iPads and making notes about what they saw and heard. In the afternoon they wrote and redrafted their own poem, reading some out loud and debating rhyme and rhythm with Liz.

Wednesday 5th June was our second day with visiting poet, Liz Cashdan. The students had an interesting introduction into the background of English language; considering its Anglo-Saxon and Latin roots. We then explored two very different locations - our home town of Selby and the contrasting world of Syria. Images were used to help the group engage with the differences and from this some incredibly emotive and engaging poetry was created. The students were very proud of their work and we had the opportunity to hear some of the wonderful pieces before the end of the session.

After school, staff were treated to an engaging and though provoking session in which Liz shared her experiences as a poet. She gave a fascinating insight into the world of poetry, answering questions from staff as well as explaining her own thoughts about how to successfully develop poetic skill. Staff then engaged in some entertaining poetry readings (complete with some impressive accents) and had a go at writing their own poems based on the idea of taking only one thing on a journey.

Liz Cashdan started the third day of her residence at Selby High by asking Year 9 pupils to consider what poetry actually is. From there, Liz discussed the history of the English language and both the Latin and Anglo-Saxon origins of English language words. Students went on to explore their names: thinking about where they come from and writing poems with their names as a starting point. Liz posed the question to the group: if you had to leave and couldn’t come back, what would you take with you? This evoked some thoughtful and interesting ideas from the students.

In the afternoon session, students used the school’s iPads to take photographs outside on the school grounds. Their favourite images were used to inspire a poem. The day ended with Liz reading out her favourite poems produced by the students. “I’ve really enjoyed my time at the school this week,” said Liz. “The pupils have come up with some very creative ideas and I hope they can continue to develop their poems and poetry skills!”

Well done to all involved and a huge thank you to Liz for helping staff and students unleash their inner poets!


We would also like to thank the Poetry Society who made the visit possible through their Foyle Young Poet of the Year Applauded School scheme -