Shelley Tracey, Community Arts Partnership’s LAVA (Literature and Verbal Arts) Coordinator writes about the Poetry in Motion Schools Project

As CAP’s LaVA (Literature and Verbal Arts) Coordinator, I am delighted to report that poetry is alive and well and thriving in our schools. My evidence for this is the celebration event at the Ulster Hall on Tuesday the 12th of March, when the thirty schools which took part in CAP’s Poetry in Motion programme this year came together to read and perform their work.

There were group pieces and poems read by individuals; they were all powerful, energetic, entertaining, moving and exciting. The poets, aged from seven to sixteen years, used original and effective language to express themselves and communicate their ideas.

One of the teachers whose class participated in the event commented: “It  was an absolutely fabulous day and we were delighted to be part of it. My children have been so inspired by the whole process,  and I was delighted to have some of my pupils, who may not usually get to shine in this way, stand on that stage today and deliver their poems confidently and proudly.”

The judge of the Seamus Heaney Award for Achievement, Irish Children’s Laureate na nóg Sarah Crossan, complimented the poets and encouraged them to keep writing.

Further evidence of the healthy state of poetry is the anthology which was launched at the event.

Every year, we publish a selection of the poems composed during Poetry in Motion workshops, showcasing each of the schools which have participated. I think this year’s anthology, The Colour of Light, is a wonderful testament to the talent and creativity of the young poets.

I would like to thank the teachers in whose classrooms Poetry in Motion took place for encouraging their pupils and helping to sustain their interest in poetry.  One of these teachers commented that as a result of their participation in Poetry in Motion, her pupils “now have a real zeal for poetry.”

A very big thank you goes to CAP’s dedicated poet facilitators, without whom the event, and indeed Poetry in Motion itself, would not have been possible.

Every year, these facilitators share their love of poetry and their expertise in their poetry workshops in the participating schools.  They inspire the pupils and take them on extraordinary imaginative journeys.

This year, St Colmcille’s Primary School chose to perform a very special poem at the event: about their poet facilitator.  They declared:

“Having you here is a breath of fresh air,

Filling us with knowledge,

Your Heart in the right place.

We love writing poems, it’s now what we do.

Seeing you go is like losing a friend.”

Thanks and congratulations to all who made the event so special, and the Poetry in Motion programme so rewarding.

Shelley Tracey – shelleyt@capartscentre.com

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