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© Abbie Trayler-Smith

Prior registration is required for this event which is addressed to secondary school students.

Lectures for secondary students

A morning with Kate Clanchy

Why do we need poetry?


In this session with secondary school students, the poet and schoolteacher Kate Clanchy will speak about the possibilities offered by poetry for speaking out, expressing who we are, and sharing our different views of the world.

Poems, says Kate Clanchy, can be good allies when we need to make sense of things and to express how we feel, and when trying to put into words the most difficult and impenetrable parts of our lives. It is also an excellent way of introducing us to the voices and feelings of others, and to different ways of being in the world which would otherwise be unknown to us. In this talk to students, Kate Clanchy will describe her own relationship with poetry as both a well-known British writer and as a teacher in a small school in Oxford, where she has introduced poetry to her pupils with surprising results. With these ideas in mind, she has edited and published the book England: Poems from a School (Picador, 2018), a best-selling collection of poems written by her pupils that has received many awards in the United Kingdom.

Kate Clanchy, who studied at Edinburgh and Oxford universities, is a poet and teacher at Oxford Spires Academy, where the pupils speak more than thirty languages. She also writes on a regular basis for the dailies The Guardian and The Scotsman as well as taking part in BBC Radio programmes on literature. Notable among her poetry and essay collections are Samarkand (Picador, 1992), Slattern (Picador, 2001), Antigona and Me (Pan Macmillan, 2009), and Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me (Picador, 2019). Her poems have been included in the jointly-authored collections A Book of Scottish Verse (Robert Hale, 2002) and The Edinburgh Book of Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry (Edinburgh University Press, 2006).

Presenters: Josep Pedrals

Participants: Kate Clanchy

This activity is part of Lectures for secondary students

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