Poetry, Projects

Poetry Slam workshops begin here’s how poet Joshua Siegal’s first week went

“I’ve had a great time running workshops with Year 5 children at St John The Divine and Jessop Primary schools. We are exploring some deep, powerful issues to do with identity, community, family and the world. So far the children have been writing individual pieces, playing warm-up games and listening to and discussing one or two poems by me. In future weeks we will synthesise the individual pieces into a group poem, which the children will then rehearse and perform.

I have been struck by the enthusiasm and energy of the children, and especially by their ability and willingness to engage with important issues. However, there has also been a healthy dose of silliness and fun. For example, they said they enjoyed seeing Adisa perform, and were struck by how quickly he spoke. I then proceeded to perform the FASTEST POEM IN THE WHOLE WORLD (here is a video of me performing the poem in Edinburgh). Beat that Adisa!


I look forward to continuing my work with two groups of fantastic children!”

Many thanks Joshua

Poetry, Projects

If I were a cat… some lines from St Saviours Primary as part of Eliot Now project

Having heard Eliot’s poems, year 5 at St Saviours Primary have put pen to paper with a flourish, writing ‘If I were a cat…’ poems. Here are just a few lines to whet your appetite:

“If I were a cat
I would touch
The claws of the wind.”

“If I were a cat,
I would dance in the gaze of the moon and lick myself clean until the red fiery light of dawn rises up from its pillow.”

“If I were a cat,
I would daydream of leaping from candyfloss clouds
Without a single care in the world.
But I’m not a cat – so I can’t do any of that.”

Well done Wordsmiths of Year 5 at St Saviours!

Poetry, Projects

Year 8 Photography sessions for Eliot Now

180 students from Evelyn Grace Academy have been up to Bankside this week to take photographs inspired by themes from Eliot’s The Waste Land, working with Brixton professionals from Brixton based Photofusion gallery. Its been a week of sunshine and rain, but no snow I’m pleased to report! Some fantastic shots captured by these talented year 8s, using DSLR cameras for research and taking their carefully chosen catalyst shot on polaroid film. Brixton Learning Collaborative would like to thank Lizzy King, Adrian Wood and the team of volunteers from Photofusion who have worked 4 days solid with groups of students, as well as all the staff from Evelyn Grace Academy for their enthusiasm and creativity in supporting the young people to find a ‘way in’ to this challenging great work, The Waste Land.
Jenny Smith, Partnership Manager


Teachers, Cats and lots of new words

13 teachers from the BLC met after school on 9th January to start the primary element of our Eliot Now project, with lead poet Jared Louche. It was a valuable chance to get together and discuss how the project will run and share ideas to explore the Old Possums Book of Practical Cats with our year 5 children. Enthusiastic relatives of our teachers have been sharing their cats’ stories and names – including one called David Cameron (we aren’t sure why!). The Naming of Cats gives a great opening exercise for readers to make up their own 3 names: their daily, family name, their special peculiar name and the name that they keep secret from everyone – then write a line or two of poetry to go with them.
Jenny Smith, Partnership Manager

Poetry, Projects

BLC Poetry Slam – the competition begins

Friday 10th January saw the start of the BLC Poetry Slam where all the teams met at Evelyn Grace Academy to hear and see poetry in action! 4 talented young people from years 8 and 9 from Evelyn Grace dazzled us with their wordsmithing and told us how they got into poetry: an inspiration to everyone there. The new younger teams then joined in with poetry leader and compere Adisa’s poems. Workshops start in school on 21st January, kicking off in St Saviours and St John’s Angell Town with Neal Zetter. A great start.

Poetry, Projects

Funding Success for BLC Poetry Projects

Eliot Now

Funded by Clore Poetry and Literature Awards

An exciting and challenging project where children in years 5 and 8 in the BLC read, reflect and respond to the poetry of TS Eliot. This project brings the students work beyond the classroom through partnership with Photofusion gallery in Brixton and Brixton libraries. Postcards and posters will celebrate the work on the streets of Brixton.

“Poetry and literature reveal new possibilities and worlds beyond our own. It is vital that all children and young people experience the power of  literature, poetry and creative writing – they are at the heart of our experience and
culture.”    Dame Vivien Duffield, Clore Duffield Foundation


BLC Poetry Slam

Funded by The Walcot Foundation.

The powerful medium of performance poetry brings students from the BLC schools together  to compete in the first BLC Poetry Slam at The Ritzy cinema in Brixton. Teams from 10 schools are coached by professional, highly regarded performance wordsmiths Adisa, Kat Francois, Neal Zetter, Indigo and Joshua Seigal in preparation for the competition.

“I believe that Slam poetry is an awesome medium for aiding young people through many transitions they will have to make during their lives.” Adisa the Verbaliser, Poet workshop leader on BLC Poetry Slam.