Tag Archives: Radikal Words

The North East Final

On Saturday 3 July at the Arc Arts Centre in Stockton-on-Tees, young people from across the North East came together for a day of performances, workshops and the North East WORDCUP final. The venue was literally buzzing with yellow t-shirts and poetic energy. Here are some images and thoughts from the day…

Young poets receive their t-shirts

The Managers' Match: Jacob Sam-La Rose introduces the Poet Coaches

Simma performs at the Managers' Match

‘The best thing was working with Jeff and training. I have learned to organise my lyrics’ – Student


Getting to know the other teams

What was the best thing about WORDCUP2010?

‘The workshops. I met new people and had lots of fun playing the games’ – Student


What have you learnt during the project?

‘That there are different ways to deal with stress and emotions and anything is possible’ – Student

Jean 'Binta' Breeze opens the evening

The slam begins... The Black Books perform

Three words to describe WORDCUP2010: ‘Fun, Exciting, Nervous’ – Student

Drastic Camp perform!

New Writing North Young Writers

What would you change about WORDCUP2010?

‘Make the workshops longer’ – Student

The 'Most Striking Performance Technique Award' goes to New Writing North Young Writers

The 'Most Striking Line Award' goes to The Black Books

...And the 'Highest Scoring Team' are the Mainstream Misfits who will go on to represent the North East at the National WORDCUP2010 Final in Manchester

...What is striking about the day is how all the teams interact and get to know each other, so that when it comes to the Slam, they are supporting everyone, not just their own team

How would you describe WORDCUP2010?

‘Spontaneous’ ‘Mind-Blowing’ ‘Awesome’ ‘Legend’ – Students’ responses

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Two shots from my recent trip to the North East to visit Degna Stone and Nikki Hawkins’ WORDCUP teams at Newcastle’s Live Theatre and in Ashington…

Degna’s team were brainstorming on the project’s theme ‘I am free to write’. All poems in the first round of the SLAM must address this theme. It’s been interesting to see all the different interpretations…

Brainstorm by Degna's team at Live Theatre

Nikki’s team are already published poets. They recently wrote and illustrated a book with the help of their teachers, another poet and an illustrator. This is a photocopy of the cover of the book – which had just gone to print at the time of my visit. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a finished copy.

Open Your Mind by Mainstream Misfits

One of the poems in the book was written during WORDCUP2010 on the subjects of mothers. I’m hoping they’ll share some of their poems on the blog. They’re a talented group of young women writing openly about the challenges they face in everyday life.


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Notes from the North East

WORDCUP2010 kicked off in the North East, where an extended project is taking place, coordinated by Radikal Words. Ten teams of young people in the region are working with poet coaches towards their own regional final, which will take place at the Arc in Stockon-on-Tees on Saturday 3 July.

At the end of March, the North East poets met at the Arc for two days of workshops, led by Radikal Words and Jacob Sam-La Rose, Artistic Director of the London Teenage Poetry SLAM and WORDCUP’s creative consultant. The workshops focussed on sharing and developing tools for working with young people.

I went up for the first day and it was wonderful to be in a room with so many talented poets and performers who all care about bringing poetry into education. As with all good meetings, it involved lots of games, led by different members of the group. Here’s one led by Jeff Price of Radikal Words – a game he often plays with students to get them writing and thinking about themselves…

This Hand…

  • Ask each member of the group to draw around their writing hand. They must then write their name in the middle
  • Outside the hand, ask them to write down three things their hand has done: two true things, and one lie
  • Ask each member to feed back what they have written and ask the group to guess which one is the lie

"This hand has milked a cow, this hand has caught a pigeon, this hand has been broken...."

One of the best things about working on a project like this is seeing how willing poet coaches are to share ideas, techniques and teaching material. Jacob led an exercise on poetic principles – asking the poets what, for them, creates strong writing. Here are some of the things they said:

  • Have a strong message
  • Convey the familiar in an original way
  • Tell personal stories  – make them interesting
  • Write it all down in the first draft – edit later. Kill the inner censor!
  • Draw on the senses
  • Be specific – use concrete images
  • Avoid clichés
  • Don’t rely on rhyme – use a range of poetic devices
  • Connect to your audience
  • Have fun

Young poets, take note!

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