Harry Baker Visit

Harry Baker, an award-winning poet, came in to school to perform and talk about his poetry, his process and the experiences and challenges that have informed his work. Year 9 and Year 10 got the opportunity to watch him perform. His performance was incredible, with him reciting his poems by memory, with an enviable ease that managed to create an atmosphere where everyone was listening closely to hear what he would say next. A personal favourite of mine was his poem about his favourite prime number. He chose 59 and wrote a cosy, warm-hearted love story between 59 and his match 61, who was just as odd as him. His poems were light-hearted and his poem ‘Dinosaur Love’ in particular made sure we couldn’t have stopped smiling even if we had tried. When asked the question if he could freestyle his poems, he agreed to try freestyle one for us then and there, with five random words of our choice: he managed, both terrifyingly and incredibly, to create a poem and perform it to us instantly, including the words ‘lekker’ (South African slang for ‘pleasant’) and ‘Mr Boyd’. 

Some students were also given the opportunity to hear him talk specifically about writing and be given the chance to write some poetry ourselves in a workshop led by Harry. This was my favourite part, and he really understood how to prompt us while still ensuring we had enough freedom not to feel trapped and weighted down. We were given the opportunity to share our poems with the group or just keep them for ourselves, and I think I speak for everyone when I say it was an incredible experience.

Michelle, Y10

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