Young poets impress in wordy exhibition

Sean Beech with his son, James, nine, at home with his books and plasticine figures.

Picture: Habibur Rahman (171461-895)

Sean uses claytime to find inspiration for book illustration

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THE history of the Havant area was brought to life through the poems of 35 children.

Pupils from Havant Academy and Park Community School worked with professional poet and rapper, Simon Mole, to create inspiring pieces of work that are now on display at The Spring, in East Street, Havant.

Sophie Fullerlove (left) and Simon Mole (right) with pupils from Havant Academy at the poetry exhibition at The Spring in Havant.

Sophie Fullerlove (left) and Simon Mole (right) with pupils from Havant Academy at the poetry exhibition at The Spring in Havant.

Yesterday many of the children overcame their nerves to perform their poems aloud.

Kealey Gauntlett, 13, wrote a piece based on the Glasshouse at Staunton Country Park

She said: ‘I enjoyed getting out of the classroom.’

Taylor Bartlett, 12, wrote a poem about the Shell House at Staunton.

She said: ‘I learned that it was a dungeon.’

Mark Kimberley, 12, wrote a poem called Hall of Fame with the opening lines ‘I walked in the shell house, William Shakespeare throwing a party’.

Katelyn Simpson, 13, said: ‘I learned there were less people than now.’

Andrew Stead, 13, said: ‘Trains were really important – that was the only way to get to Hayling Island. I enjoyed reading my poem.’

Simon and three other professional poets performed at a gig at The Spring to begin the project several months ago.

The poet, who wrote his own piece about Leigh Park, said: ‘Young people had a chance to experience spoken word and performance poetry. Since then we have had a day out at Staunton Country Park and a day exploring the heritage collection at The Spring.

‘Then we had four or five sessions to turn their notes and ideas they had gathered and transform into poetry.’

Sophie Fullerlove, director of The Spring, said: ‘He made it cool – it made it alright to like poetry. They have created to some really beautiful work and I am very impressed.’

Charlotte Slinger, youth arts officer at Hampshire County Council, which provided a £7,000 grant to fund the project, said: ‘The reason this area was chosen was particular emphasis on young people who are perhaps disadvantaged and have limited reading and writing ability. The project has raised their attainment and skills in reading, writing and speaking.’

The exhibition runs until next Saturday.