Posted on: May 3rd 2019


In February, Year 11 pupils attended the GCSE Poetry Live event at the Apollo Theatre, Victoria.

Against the surreal backdrop of the musical ‘Wicked’, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, as well as Owen Sheers and Imtiaz Dharker read out some of their poetry and participated in a short question and answer session with the pupils. Oxford University’s Professor of Poetry, Simon Armitage then delivered a variety of his work along with his usual amusing anecdotes, explaining his influences and many of the ideas behind his poems which are in the AQA GCSE Anthology. Each poet also discussed how certain writers had influenced their own creations.

The AQA examiner also took to the stage and gave a masterclass in “how to achieve a Level 4, or above, in your English GCSE.” He took the pupils through an essay, explaining what the examiners are looking for in a pupil response to poetry. The Hurstmere boys furiously scribbled down notes which will hopefully aid them in their revision and success in June!

The star of the show was, as always, John Agard. Greeted like a rock star by the pupils, his enthusiasm for and joy of writing poetry is infectious and he had everybody in the audience clapping and shouting along to his poetry.  A very worthwhile day!

K. MacKenzie-Ingle