Stoke Poets’ Corner
Students at the Sixth Form College and students from schools across the city have joined forces with six professional performers to create a Stoke Poet’s Corner in the city.
Almost 100 school and college students have been taking part in the project to explore how to craft their own original poetry. It is set to culminate in a public show this week, where the atrium of the Sixth Form College will be transformed into a theatre. Young people will perform some of their work alongside the experts.
Poet Jason N Smith approached the college with the idea after taking part in the Six Towns Carnival earlier this year.
The 42-year-old, from Hanley , said: “I wanted to give young people the courage to be who they are. If you get somebody to write poetry and share their voice, they can find they are accepted. I’m looking forward to seeing the young people perform. It will be really exciting.”
Most of the students taking part are from the Sixth Form College. But several younger pupils from Biddulph High and Thistley Hough Academy, in Penkhull, have also been involved.
The other performance poets passing on tips to them include Staffordshire’s poet laureate Emily Rose Galvin, Stoke-on-Trent-based writers Nick Degg and Gabriella Gay, along with Raja N Khan and Steven Duncan.
Esther Brennan, who teaches sport and public services at the college, hopes the project will inspire teenagers to develop their literacy skills. Esther said: “We are so lucky to have the opportunity to work with these super six. We are grateful and excited that such a diverse team of talented artists have committed this time to work with the young people.”
College student Megan Wilkes has enjoyed exploring her creative side. The 17-year-old, who lives just outside Hanley, said: “For me, writing about dark stuff is easier than writing about happy stuff. Performance poetry is totally different to the poetry you study in high school.”