A Prelude to National Poetry Day

Posted: 26th September 2017

Forward Prizes for Poetry

National Poetry Day is on Thursday 28th September and will be marked with events and excitement at St Augustine’s Priory.  As a prelude to this, Miss Brown, Head of Drama, reports on the recent visit of Priory 6 and Upper IV pupils to the Forward Prizes for Poetry.

‘On Thursday 21st September Ljiljana Krneta, Aditi Jadhav and Katya Beniatian from Lower VI and Lucy Phillips and Tanita Jose from Upper IV were lucky enough to attend the Forward Prizes for Poetry at the Royal Festival Hall, courtesy of St Augustine’s Priory parent, former winner and judge, Mona Arshi.  The event showcased this year’s creative genius of the poetry world.

Television presenter Andrew Marr presented the prizes and thoroughly entertained us with his witty stories on the hard task of choosing this year’s winners; equating the task to slaughtering unicorns or comparing a pear to a pineapple. Mona Arshi’s introductions were a delight of language as well and cleverly pointed the audience to notice jewels in each work.  All winning poets performed their poetry and it was a privilege to hear such beautifully crafted works from a diverse range of poets.

Ocean Vuong’s poem ‘Night Sky with Exit Wounds’ won Best First Collection and his heartrending rendition brought tears to the eyes. In his thank you speech he spoke about how poetry transcends borders and territory, which reinforced the value of poetry as a high art form.  Ian Patterson won Best Single Poem with ‘The Plenty of Nothing’, a poignant response to the loss of his wife, and Sinead Morrissey won Best Collection for ‘On Balance’ and amused us with her aunt’s visceral experience of cleaning the Odeon after a Beatles concert. The evening was inspirational.

On Monday 25th September the Priory 6 girls read some poems from The Forward Book of Poetry in Assembly to share their experience with the senior school and to celebrate National Poetry Day.  The Forward Book of Poetry is available to buy from Faber and Faber.

Ms Hewitt, LAMDA teacher, commented that it was, “A happening.  Uplifting and touching.  The Forward Poetry Prize was, for me, an enriching and nourishing experience. This wonderful art form sends out a powerful personal message to us all.  It resonates and lingers.  I will be back.”

Ljiljana Krneta commented, “It was thoroughly engaging and solidifying whilst reigniting my passion for poetry.”

Katya Beniatian said, “The poetry read was beautifully written with talent and meaning, it was a privilege to be able to hear it and I have come away inspired.”

Aditi Jadhav ends by saying, “The Forward Prize Poetry Evening was a marvellous experience. Hearing the diverse flavours of poetry from the talented poets themselves was entrancing: making the connection between the words of the poem and the identity of the poet even deeper. They transported me into different worlds, evoking various emotions in me. I am very thankful to Mrs Brown and Mona Arshi for this wonderful opportunity”.

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