News from The Kings of Wessex Academy

Longfella Poet inspires Year 9 students

25th October, 2018 by Jude Owens

Manchester poet Tony Walsh visited The Kings of Wessex Academy this week to run poetry workshops for Year 9 English students - as the poets of the future.

Better known as Longfella, Tony Walsh is described as “an ordinary bloke with an extraordinary talent and a remarkable story” who overcame childhood poverty and illness, working in everyday jobs in the communities of his beloved home city Manchester. He found further fame in May 2017 when his poem “This Is The Place” was broadcast globally from the vigil for victims of the Manchester Arena bomb blast, touching the hearts of millions, and which trended worldwide on social media. His stoic, moving poem has entered the folklore and fabric of the city, making him one of the UK’s most widely recognised and in-demand professional poets.

Leading a series of workshops, Longfella provided fascinating insights into writing poetry, including first line possibilities, the choice of end word, alliteration and assonance and he guided students on the use of rhyme and how to source rhyme ideas in books and online rhyming dictionaries (see: https://www.rhymezone.com). Such was his enthusiasm for his craft Longfella talked about “dance steps” in a sentence that move the poem along and also talked about the Japanese poetry form of Haiku in three lines, with five, seven and five syllables.

All the students enjoyed the workshop with this prominent poet and were inspired to write their own poetry and think about the use of language as wonderful wordsmiths like Longfella himself.

Second in the English Department Mrs Jarvis said:

“We were delighted to welcome the famous poet Tony Walsh to Kings for a wonderful afternoon of thinking and writing poetry. He really inspired our students with his love of poetry and shared some of his magic about writing verse. We thank Longfella for his enthusiasm!”

Longfella’s latest poem “Setting Sail: 60 Years of Blue Peter” marks 60 years of the popular and enduring BBC1 children’s television programme Blue Peter, and has been viewed over a million times on iPlayer over the past few days this week (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oqm23ajfUNg&t=9s&safe=true