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October 21, 2020

Written by Glyn Edwards

Poetry Wales’ Young Poets Competition is trying to seize the human spirit shown in 2020 with their theme ‘Empathy’.

A series of videos made by poets and teachers are available on the Poetry Wales website. I was asked to consider ‘Shape’ or ‘Concrete’ poetry and split the task into two activities: one aimed at KS2 / KS3 learners and one aimed at KS4 / KS5 pupils.

For the KS4 / KS5 lesson, I begin with an article from the New Scientist, an excerpt of James Joyce, provide a set of National Geographic images and prompts to explore them through different narrative voices and tenses, and offer a series of my own poems with activities to use in lessons. There is also a resource demonstrating how to use Adobe Photoshop to manipulate text into shapes.

For the KS3 resource, there is a series of easily-printed grids that allow pupils to construct their own shape poems in a fun and non-threatening exercise. There is also a brief history of the form and examples of Guillaume Apollinaire’s calligrammes.

Further resources have been made by the poets Hanan Issa, Clare E. Potter and Grug Muse. You can download the series of PPTs / lesson plans and teaching resources from the PW website here: https://poetrywales.co.uk/resources/

Introductory videos for the resource are also on YouTube and can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XCZaW4Iv6g&feature=emb_logo