Last night in the Big Schoolroom, we had one of the highlights of the year, the annual Voices of Poetry evening. As Mr Swift said in his introduction, it is the 'essence of summer'. The well-tried format worked its magic again in a warm Big Schoolroom illuminated only by a single spotlight. The evening provides us each year with a particular kind of mental space at the busiest time of all.
Douglas Boyd Crotty opened with Blake's 'Jerusalem', which he recited in the Poetry Aloud semi-final; he was followed by Samuel Clarke, with his poem 'It is Time', winner of the 2012 Junior Poetry Prize. Then came the first batch of foreign language poems - Italian (Dante, from Albert Kyd-Rebenburg), Latin (Catullus, from Friedericke Wagner), Spanish (Sophie Lamotte), French (Quirin v Blomberg). Hollie Canning read the first Irish poem of the evening, and then Primary as a group performed Rosemary Dobson's 'Folding the Sheets'. The first staff member to read was Mr Jameson, with Billy Collins's 'More than a Woman' (video link of Collins himself reading it, with commentary).
Noelle Knight read excellently a poem in Jamaican patois, followed by Bethany Shiell (Portuguese) and Russian (Ilya Zyzlaev). Two unusual languages followed - Azeri (Ricki Barnes) and Farsi (Aoise Keogan-Nooshabadi). Further eastwards we went - Chinese (Julia Xie) and Korean (Sun Hee Hwang). Then back to English - next year's tennis captains, Hamish Law and Kezia Wright performed Roger McGough's shape poem '40-love' as 'players'. Shannen Keogan, Second Prefect, chose a Máirtín O'Direáin piece in Irish. Mr Girdham contributed Sylvia Plath's poem about parenthood, 'You're'. Poems in German (Helene Peters) and Catalan (Anna Herrero) followed before the final cluster - Senior Prefect Jack Cherry contributed Rudyard Kipling's 'If' and a poem by his pal Angus Johnson from some years ago. The winner of this year's Peter Dix Award for Poetry (pictured), Sadhbh Sheeran, read 'Solstice', for a good friend lost recently. Finally, Chance Gustafson ended with American English.
Many thanks to Mr Swift for again providing us with another memorable evening.