‘Not just good for school children, but great by any standard’ – Phillip Pullman
Oxford Spires Academy is a small comprehensive school with 30 languages – and one special focus: poetry. In the last five years, its students have won every prize going. They have been celebrated in the Guardian (‘The Very Quiet Foreign Girls Poetry Group’), and the subject of a BBC Radio 3 documentary.
In this unique anthology, their mentor and teacher prize-winning poet Kate Clanchy brings their poems together, and allowing readers to see why their work has caused such a stir. By turns raw and direct, funny and powerful, lyrical and heartbreaking, they document the pain of migration and the exhilaration of building a new land, an England of a thousand voices. In England: Poems from a School, you will find poetry is easy to read and hard to forget, as fresh, bright and present as the young migrants who produced it.
Kate Clanchy's England: Poems from a School showcased the prize-winning pupils of a highly international Oxford secondary school. Through Clanchy's teaching, the voice of real feeling emerges from the formulas of textbook English, in haunting and poignant poetry about remembered homelands, from Poland to Iraq and Syria. * The Times * I have to say without a hint of condescension, that their work is extremely accomplished. Clanchy's mini-biographies of these remarkable students in the final pages are deeply touching in their affectionate admiration. * Literary Review * ENGLAND: POEMS FROM A SCHOOL should be on the curriculum, on public transport, excerpted in every newspaper. -- Deborah Smith * The White Review * If this book doesn't move you, you're officially a stone . . . these are unpretentious poems that get straight to the heart of these kids' and teenagers' stories of migration, making a home in England, and belonging. * Elle * This is why poetry will speak for the human till we are gone. And then it will leave a trace. They will know who we were, what we felt, what we did, what we discovered, what we lost. -- Jorie Graham Excellent. I laughed, shed a tear, and was left marvelling at the strength of the human spirit, expressed in work that would put many older poets to shame. * Telegraph * If this book doesn't move you, you're officially a stone. This is the first collection from the students of Oxford Spires Academy, a small school with students speaking 30 languages, and with a focus on poetry, which made headlines as 'The Very Quiet Foreign Girls Poetry Group'. Compiled by their teacher and mentor, Kate Clanchy, these are unpretentious poems that get straight to the heart of these kids' and teenagers' stories of migration, making a home in England, and belonging. * Elle * Full of heart and resolve . . . what is most moving is the sense that exile has a collective voice, a shared tone. Stoicism, sadness, resolve - this writing is hard won. There is an inwardness and, at the same time, the poems invoke one another. And they are not depressing, even when the subject matter distresses. On the contrary, they shine. . . What strikes one most is the sensuality in this book - there are as many juicy elegies as bleak ones. The ink of homesickness has produced a beautiful work. * Guardian * What is so poignant about her poem is the way the real voice of feeling breaks through the polite formulas of textbook English. . . it is exciting to see so many new writers discovering the alchemical power of words to conjure a solid reality -- Jeremy Noel-Tod * Sunday Times Culture * Anyone interested in poetic, profound pictures of what it means to be young to have arrived, to be living here, then this book is a must: an explosion of moments, feelings, thoughts, and images. -- Michael Rosen Tender, funny, succinct and often devastatingly sad verses about home, family, loneliness and identity . . . Kate Clanchy is the teacher we all wish we had. * Stylist * This moving and beautifully formed anthology of their work punches well above expectations for their age. Any age . . . From Poland, Korea, Russia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Colombia these writers are worldly and world-class, their writing so natural and their stories so affecting I do hope the Home Office at the very least orders a copy to keep in the loo. * The Times * Helping us to see the world with a startling freshness, these lovely poems fill me with hope -- Sarah Howe I doubt I will read anything as moving for a very long time. These poems remind us that immigration is not abstract; it is children, missing their mother and missing their homes. -- Evie Wyld Exceptional. All unflinching truths and zero pretentiousness. -- Nathan Filer Although this book is called England Poems from a School, these are really poems from the world, speaking of a freshly imagined England, in an English that plays the music of other half-remembered languages. These young poets are writing their lives with heartbreaking immediacy, in a time when home is a leaving, and also a becoming. -- Imtiaz Dharker Not just good for school children, but great by any standard -- Phillip Pullman
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