Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Poet Malika Booker at Brudenell Primary School

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Class teacher Julia Rawlinson with Malika Booker
It was about mothers and other loved ones in the family, but it began with hands. After reading one of her own short poems, about a dream of a cat, Malika distributed and read out a poem by Lisa Suhair Majaj - 'I Remember My Father's Hands'. The class (Year 6) drew hands 'of someone you love'. Malika talked with the class about some of the things that mothers commonly say to sons and daughters. Hands shot up. They say plenty, and not all of it telling off. 'This is all a trick!' said Malika, 'because I'm gathering ingredients for a poem, like in a recipe.' The hands were soon being filled with the sayings of the loved one.

More and more ingredients were added, including similes. Your mum or dad is strong? Like what? A rock, a brick, a boxer, a weight in the gym, a house... the suggestions flooded in. Her hands are soft like what? A pillow, a marshmallow...  and so on. What do those hands do? They stir soup, knead bread, form chapatis, open doors, pull the cords of blinds...  and so on. 'This is turning into a list poem,' said Malika.

On finale day, the class had the poems ready, thanks to class teacher Julia Rawlinson, all now in best handwriting, and they were taken into the hall for a rehearsal, for performance later on to any parents who could make it. Malika coached them. It was all about building confidence, encouragement with 'well done' for all. Voices had to be raised, projected: 'I know you've got a bigger voice than that! What's the voice you use in the playground? Let's hear it!' And keep still when you're waiting your turn - no rustling of paper.' Loosening-up exercises followed.

It was mainly mothers who came, the subjects of most of the poems. Everybody read beautifully. Most of the audience cried with happiness.

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