Love is in the air for pupils with poems and artworks

Year 10 pupils from Duchess's Community High School, Northumberland bring their art installation to London's Southbank for National Poetry Day: left to right - Callum Wood, Zara Browell, Will Larkin, Amy Barrett .
Year 10 pupils from Duchess's Community High School, Northumberland bring their art installation to London's Southbank for National Poetry Day: left to right - Callum Wood, Zara Browell, Will Larkin, Amy Barrett .

Pupils from a north Northumberland school travelled to London earlier this month to see their artwork displayed as part of National Poetry Day.

Students from the Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick joined young people from all over the UK who had made artworks as part of InTents, an Artichoke project.

The project was inspired by Peace Camp, Deborah Warner’s nationwide celebration of landscape and poetry, which took place around the UK coastline in July.

One of the host sites for Peace Camp was Dunstanburgh Castle, where glowing tents were set against the backdrop of the famous landmark.

Actor Fiona Shaw worked with Mel Mercier on the soundscape, collecting hundreds of recordings by actors, poets, writers, and the general public, weaving together their murmuring voices into a symphony of sound, encompassing poems from across the centuries and in different languages.

InTents was facilitated by some of the UK’s best artist-educators, with children and young people taking part from the Isle of Skye to the tip of Cornwall.

Inspired by the themes of love, language and landscape, groups of students wrote poems and made art installations that were displayed in specially-commissioned bell tents.

Their poems and artworks are embroidered, cross-stitched, and etched onto a dozen tents, which popped up along London’s Southbank on National Poetry Day on October 4.

The Year 10 pupils from the Duchess’s Community High School had chosen as their theme Love is in the Air.

The artists were Bethan Maddocks and Verity Quinn while the poet was Ira Lightman.

Their art installation was described as a ‘tent filled with multi-coloured, helium balloons with giant text-covered, interactive fabric lockets suspended from the balloons, each hiding a poetic secret.

‘This is love poetry at its most honest, exploding the myth of ‘happily ever after’ and presenting love as it is, with all its everyday annoyances’.

Students aged 13 and 14 years old worked with the poet Ira Lightman, over three workshops, to learn how to write about love and experiment with using text visually.

Ira led the students through exercises, which aimed to introduce the idea of love poetry in a fun and accessible way.

These included writing love poems to household objects and hobbies, writing short two-minute screenplays setting Romeo and Juliet in the modern period, collaging song lyrics about love into a surreal double-column poem, and finally creating ‘envelope’ love poems on the theme of revealing love – love poems developed from the initials of a loved one expanding into poems with secret messages inside.

To see some of the poems, visit http://bit.ly/WsxBRr or http://bit.ly/WsxMwa