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CBA Spoken Word Festival

Year 7 and 8 students were challenged to select and memorise a short poem over the Easter holiday. Each student recited their chosen poem in their English lessons and the best performer from each class was invited to a grand finale, in which finalists recited their poems during an after-school poetry celebration in the library.

Year 8 student Elaine Kahwa won the competition with her phenomenal performance of ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou, whilst Year 7 Jessica Walker and Year 8 student Anthony Bailey-Thompson were the runner sup.  Jessica gave a very expressive recital of ‘When I’m Old’ by Jenny Joseph and Anthony performed a dance routine as he recited ‘Onomatopoeia’ by Joseph Coelho.

During the finale, CBA’s first Poem Laureate was announced as Year 12 student Ben Hogg. Students in Year 9 to Year 13 were invited to apply for the role and had to write a poem of any length or style. Ben won with his 37-line poem all about custard cream biscuits, which he read out on the day.

As part of his new role, Ben will be asked to attend events and write occasional poems, which will be shared around the Academy. Year 7 Gerda Penkauskaite’s recited a poem she wrote herself, Ben was so impressed that he invited her to become his Poet Laureate Apprentice and work alongside him to promote poetry across CBA.

Head Librarian Amy McKay said ‘ We decided to run the event because Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan’s author visit in term 3 about their free verse book ‘We come apart’ was so successful.  Lots of students find poetry scary so we wanted to give them the chance to really get to grips with a poem and enjoy it.

‘This is the first time we have organised such an event and we were blown away by the effort we have seen from our students. Some of them have reduced us to tears because of the standard of their work; they have made us very proud. We are definitely going to run the event again next year.’