Three hundred vocal and appreciative 14 to 16 year-olds with their friends, parents and visitors packed into the main hall of Lawnswood School yesterday evening for a the grand Poetry Slam. It was the school’s contribution to the Headingley LitFest, and was coordinated by teacher Amanda Stevenson.
Very much in charge was performance poet Michelle Scally Clarke. This is the second year running that Lawnswood has been involved in a Slam. The theme this year was Pride.
With her help the students wrote and performed their own pieces - individually, in duos, trios and larger groups.
A panel of three judges chose three main award-winners: Ellen Hemingway’s Life is a Lottery was the most outstanding poem, Priya Lota’s Think, feel, say, see was the most emotive performance and Kizzy Jones, younger than most at 13, gave the most courageous performance.
Poetry Slams can feature a broad range of voices, styles, cultural traditions and approaches to writing and performance. The emphasis is on delivery, which might involve choreographed movements, hip-hop music and theatrical devices.
Below, Michelle with some of the poet-performers