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Young Poet Laureate - Claire's blog 2012-2013

Young Poet Laureate Birmingham

Claire Guest is the seventh Young Poet Laureate for Birmingham.

Claire will be telling us about her experiences throughout the year in her blog.

28 November - Poetry Workshop

I was so excited to run my first poetry workshop today, for KS3 girls at the Broadway School in Perry Barr. It was a great session, and I was so impressed by the writing and enthusiasm of the girls! One of the activities we did was writing a poem in the style of Mind Games, one of my poems, which got everyone writing; the first big step. I really hope some, if not all, of them keep it up!

22 November - Poetry Slam

Today I was at the library theatre in Birmingham to judge the school's anti-bullying poetry slam. This was the first poetry slam I’ve ever been to, so though I was very excited, I didn't really know what to expect. Now I am better informed, I would certainly go to a slam again, and drag along anyone I could get hold of, so they too could experience the awesomeness. I was blown away by both the standard of the young people's writing and how they bought the poems to life. It was brilliant to see so many interested in poetry, and I hope they all continue writing. Unfortunately, the high standard made my job in judging very difficult, but in the end Four Dwellings School won unanimously. As well as the performances from the young people, several poets performed also; Spoz, Dreadlock Alien, Andy Craven-Griffiths, Charlie Jordan, Matt Wyndle - so many stunning performances in one night! I also performed a poem, which was somewhat nerve-wracking; following after such skilled poets, but I really enjoyed the chance to perform, and can't wait to do more similar events in the future.

11 November - Remembrance Sunday

I was invited by the Lord Mayor to attend the memorial service in Centenary Square. The service was so poignant, and it was amazing to hear silence in the centre of Birmingham for two minutes. It is so important that we remember our heroes, who have served, and continue to serve our country.

10 November

I met up with Stephen, the adult Birmingham Poet Laureate today, to have a chat about plans for the year and so on. He gave me some pointers for running poetry workshops, which is brilliant, because I’m booked to do one for the first time in the very near future. At least now I’m slightly less nervous about doing it! I'm so excited about working with him throughout the year ahead, and I'm set to learn a lot.

With Children in Need coming up on the 16th, my school has asked me to write a poem for it, and perform it in assemblies during the week leading up to it. This will be my first time performing in front of my school, so I hope they'll go easy on rotten tomato throwing!

Claire Guest at Peter

22 October - Trip to Peter's Booksellers

Today I went to Peter's Booksellers to spend my £100 book vouchers. Somewhat unexpectedly, when I arrived they asked me if I would mind performing some of my poems for them. Like a proper boyscout (always be prepared!), I had a few ready to perform, and my notebook with me. I did Words, a poem from my YPL audition, and Rumours (at the request of my Mom, it's one of her favourites!).

Then it was on to spending my vouchers. Not as easy as it sounds! Peter's was like a bookworm's paradise; I was more than spoilt for choice. Amongst other books, I eventually decided to get a rhyming dictionary and a book of poems, which will hopefully be useful for inspiration over the coming twelve months.

Claire Guest

4 October - National Poetry Day

I missed the afternoon of school (woo!) to go to Birmingham Central Library, where Adrian Goldberg from BBC WM announced me as the eighth Birmingham Young Poet Laureate. I was presented with a trophy and framed certificate, then Rachel from Peters Booksellers gave me £100 of book tokens for their store. I then performed Rumours.

Also, I am going to make the claim that I am legitimately famous as someone asked for my autograph. (He may have said he always gets the autograph of the poet laureate and young poet laureate, but hey, it still counts!)

Claire Guest with Rachel Lindsay from Peters Books

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