John Willmott School

Spoken Word Poetry Workshop

Last week a group of Year 9 students attended a poetry workshop lead by spoken word poet, Joe Cook. He began the session with the question “Is poetry boring?” and quickly set about proving that poetry is, in fact, anything but boring as students struggled to distinguish between Shakespearean lines and Hip Hop lyrics!

Earlier this year, Year 9 studied a range of war and conflict poetry. Joe revisited these themes with the students and then supported groups as they explored different ideas about war and conflict through song lyrics. Students then used these lyrics and their own ideas about war and conflict to create word banks – laying the foundations for their own poetry. Joe demonstrated how rhyming couplets give rhythm and flow to poetry by challenging students to complete the line, “I’ve got words…” with a matching rhyme. A few rounds later and students were beginning to form their own rhyming couplets and bring bars together to create stanzas. At the end of the workshop, students were encouraged to perform their pieces to the group before watching a final, inspiring performance by Joe.

All the students involved showed real enthusiasm and Joe commented that “the room had a real energy.” Below are just a few of the poems created during the workshop.

This whole scene is causing a lot of distress,              

Now these victims are going through a mess.

These victims are dead,

Now I got weird things going through my head.

All these soldiers are going through a test,

We don’t know if they’re going to get full time rest.


This may not be victory,

But now it’s history,

Clogged up with fear,

Let it out with a single tear.

Where is all the love we had?