They just grew on that school stage - into new, self-assured beings! Talented as well, at least as talented as the adults in other LitFest events, and in some cases more so. The Lawnswood Poetry Slam was much more than an extracurricular frivolity (and there's too many out-of-touch people who think that arts events are frivolities generally, look out for creativity-numbing cuts after the election), it was essentially educational. These kids do not stunt their creative growth on PS3s, obviously. All the poems, songs and dances were original, many of the words were learned by heart, and the emotion all around us last Thursday evening was absolutely authentic. Nothing contrived - it came from the heart. I saw a teacher crying, and not from stress this time!
Judging the event was a great pleasure for myself, Richard Raftery and Donna Cartwright, and as I said at the time, you couldn't put a whisker between some of those kids. I nearly described them as contestants, but they weren't really. This is not the Slam Factor, and none of them were really doing it for any kind of prize.Michelle Scally-Clarke was as charismatic and inspiring as ever - a great teacher of rhetoric, you might say.
Rhetoric is the ancient art of communicating effectively with language. It was the basis of education for young people for many centuries, so it is old, old as well as new, new. Lawnswood has been slammed (in the crass tabloid sense) recently. These lovely slammers went some way to putting the record straight, because it was obvious on Thursday evening that Lawnswood students are terrific!
Below, Michelle Scally-Clarke with some of the slammers: