Poetry Together (Part 2)

When Lewis School registered for “Poetry Together” they had no idea that some entries would be invited to London to take part in a joint poetry recital. Some 250 groups from across the UK were registered and 5 selected and invited to London. The Caerphilly entry was one of those five. The event took place in Eaton Square School, Piccadilly; hosted by Gyles Brandreth and attended by the Duchess of Cornwall. As we found out later, not only were we to recite our poems in her presence, but Her Royal Highness was going to take part!

An Article by Mike Oliver

Pupils from Lewis School, Pengam have linked up with the elderly residents of Caerphilly borough to prove how powerful the written word can be when it comes to bringing different age groups together. The Year 10 pupils linked up with residents of Trafalgar House care home and it’s own intergenerational group to learn a poem and recite it in unison. The fun Poetry Together event took place at Eaton Square School in central London in front of the Duchess of Cornwall. The event hosted by broadcaster Gyles Brandreth followed National Poetry Day, which highlighted the benefits of learning poetry by heart and bridging the gap between generations.  It highlights benefits from improved memory and speech development to increased confidence, from learning and reciting poems. The inspiration for Poetry Together came after Gyles Brandreth made a radio programme last year about the value of learning poetry by heart, featuring University of Cambridge research that showed how learning and speaking poetry benefits both younger and older people.

The children and elderly people, aged from 14 years to 94years, recited works by Idris Davies, a Polish poem called Highlands, performed by Polish war veteran Leon Block and pupil Kascper Dudek and a piece written by care home resident Beryl Jones called friendship which was performed in Welsh and English.

BBC Radio 4 Just a Minute star Gyles enthused: “I love poetry and want to share the joy of learning a poem. The idea is beautifully simple – to get young and older people to learn the same poem and then get together to perform it and have tea. It’s free, great fun, and bridges the gap between generations to the benefit of everyone.”

Every participating school is receiving a signed copy of Gyles’s new anthology of poems ‘Dancing By The Light Of The Moon’. Bleddyn Richards, English teacher at the school said, “ It was a real pleasure to organise our adventure to London. Pupils and our intergen group performed superbly. It was also a great privilege to meet the Duchess and Gyles” Ralph Stevens, Chair of the Caerphilly over 50’s Forum, who also attended and performed at the event added “ I was certainly nervous about performing in front of royalty. However, I needn’t have worried. The Duchess performed a poem as well and said that she was equally nervous”. It is hoped that the event will become an annual one.