This week we hear from Antony about his recent work at Leeds Co-Op Academy on his Put It In Words Programme:
The commute to Leeds has been absolutely worth it to meet the talented and expressive group up at Co-Op Academy. The students have channeled their experiences of living in Leeds in 2023, masculinity, and social issues into a collection of poetry that is both uniquely them and absolutely excellent.
Great, purposeful conversation gave way to an honesty in the group that made for excellent writing. I personally learned a lot about Leeds and how the students found themselves there - lots coming from overseas as a child and feeling slightly lost and overwhelmed. These cultural insights (some from Ghana and Ukraine to name but two) have impacted their writing and their reflections on being teenagers in the most engaging of ways.
It would be remiss of me not to mention their energy, humour and enthusiasm for the sessions and the respect with which they treated each other. Eating pizza together as equals and learning to listen to each other made me so proud every time I left. Here is a sample of two of my favourite poems:
“Life is like a piano, how you play it is what you get out as a result, white keys on the piano represents hope, love and the black keys symbolises the darkness in me” - Daniel K
“You can't sustain nature it always evolves
nature's first hue is green
In life you get stuff and you lose stuff
Some fulfil you others hunger you more
The jem i had for so long
Ran from me eventually
If you follow nature and sleep in the dark
you wake up to the light” - Sakib
Thanks Antony, we look forward to reading the Anthology and seeing it in the school library!