The highly recommended publication Teaching English magazine holds an annual poetry competition which this year received in excess of 3,000 entries. We were delighted that two Columbans’ poems were selected: Oliver Glenn-Craigie was commended in the junior category for his poem 'Teapot', about his father’s much-used teapot, and Thomas Emmet was commended in the senior category for his poem 'The Old Guitarist', inspired by Picasso’s painting of the same name. Last Wednesday Oliver and Thomas were honoured at a prize ceremony and poetry day held in Portlaoise.
During the morning, Joe Woods, poet and director of Poetry Ireland, took the young writers for a session in which they tried different techniques and took useful advice on composing poetry. In the meantime the accompanying teachers had a valuable discussion about the teaching and writing of poetry in schools. Maureen Curran, an English teacher in Loreto Milford, Co. Donegal, led by sharing her experiences of nurturing poetry in her school through a group project known as Poetry Factory. There is an excellent feature in the summer edition of the magazine about their work (see below via Issuu - click for larger view, and click again for close view).
When the workshops were finished the parents, pupils, teachers and organisers gathered for the prize-giving ceremony; each of the young writers was presented with an engraved plate (Oliver is pictured above) and a laminated A3 print-out of their poem. There was an overall winner for each category and we were treated to a recital of the two winning poems by their respective authors. These assured and touching poems (along with the nineteen other winners’ poems) can be read in the autumn edition of the magazine which will be published online shortly.
A tasty lunch was provided which we enjoyed with Oliver’s mum and dad, and then it was Dublin-bound to make it back to the College just in time for his hockey game. Thanks are due to Kevin McDermott and his team from the English Support Service for such an enjoyable day; it was a pleasure to celebrate the fruits of the pupils’ work. We look forward to another year of poetry and creativity here in St Columba’s, and are galvanised by the fact that so many other schools, from Kerry to Donegal, share our enthusiasm for the art.