POET Simon Armitage led a group of schoolchildren in a day of poetry writing inspired by the beautiful surroundings of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Pupils spent the day with Simon and Agnes Lehoczky of Sheffield University, as well as Peter and Ann Samson from Poetry Business.
They worked together using the theme of poetry and landscape to create poems inspired by the exhibitions and sculptures on display. At the end of the day, the children chose two favourite poems they’d produced to be published in June as an anthology by Poetry Business.
The event was part of Creative Writing in the Community, a project that brings together researchers from the university with Poetry Business and other community groups to examine and explore the impact of creative writing on the local environment.
Simon, who is a professor of poetry at Sheffield University, was impressed with the results. He said: “I’m always amazed by how much creative potential younger students have, especially where poetic language is concerned, and the sculpture park was the perfect place for unlocking and sharing that potential.
“The students were inspired and inspiring, full of energy, concentration and inventiveness. It was a privilege to teach them and hear their work.”
Dr Joanna Gavins, from the university’s department of English literature, language and linguistics, said: “The day was a great success. The sun shone and the children produced some really impressive poetry.
“Many of them had never been to the sculpture park before and the whole event was a chance for them to experience art and creativity in a new and exciting environment.”
Two pupils from High Storrs School, Harry King and Charlotte Loy, enjoyed working with the poets and the unique surroundings. Charlotte said: “The sculpture park was amazing, the poets were fantastic and the company was cool!”
Harry added: “It was a great day, a real opportunity to expand my horizons.”
Janette Pratt, curator of learning at YSP, said: “Simon has been a friend of YSP for many years, and we are delighted to welcome him back for this exciting project.
“The sculpture park has always been committed to providing learning opportunities for all in our unique landscape, and it is great that the students were so inspired by their visit.”
Simon Armitage is a celebrated poet, novelist and playright, with collections including Dead Sea Poems and Tyrannorsaurus Rex Versus The Corduroy Kid, both nominated for the TS Eliot Prize.
Visit www.ysp.co.uk for forthcoming events at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.