Performance poet and author Andrew Fusak Peters had an extremely busy day at Bishop’s Stortford College Junior School, judging the final of this year’s Poetry Declamation Competition and giving two stunning performances of his own poetry.
The poetry performance bar was set high by Lower and Upper Shell (year 3 and 4) pupils. Alex Bovaird’s beautiful rendition of Cats by Eleanor Farjeon was declared to be the winner, with the judge commenting that the strength of feeling portrayed made it seem as if eight year old Alex had “inhabited the poem”.
Then it was the turn of the Form 1 to Upper Third (year 5 to 8) finalists. Lucy Wade-Baylis was awarded the Form 1-2 cup for what Andrew Fusak Peters called her brave choice and stunning performance of the lyrical poem Sea Shells from the Shore. Joshua Cawthray Stern was commended, also, for his dramatic rendition of Dahl’s The Dentist and the Crocodile.
The winner of the Lower Third – Upper Third category was Lauren Beaver with her absolutely outstanding performance of another piece of Dahl’s writing from The Witches, but, again, Andrew felt it important to single out two other amazing performances as well: Federico Casereto’s L’infinto, performed in Italian and English, was romantic and expressive, whilst Laura Talbot Rice’s rendition of The Night Mail was equally evocative.
Over lunch at the Hertfordshire based independent day and boarding school, the Form 1 and 2 book club readers impressed and delighted their guest with perceptive insights into his novel Ravenwood, commenting on the characters, incidents in the plot and the humour they had all enjoyed.
The climax of the day was Andrew Fusak Peters performing his own poetry and talking about his writing to Form 1 and 2 pupils. He spoke about the craft of writing both poetry and novels. The highlight for everyone was the way he performed the poems: the fun and exuberance he displayed, the rhythm and musicality of the words and the instruments – a didgeridoo and jaw harp – that he played. “Amazing, funny and inspiring” and “like a children’s Michael MacIntyre” were just two of the descriptions used to sum up Andrew Fusak Peters; he may be the tallest poet in the UK, but to many at Bishop’s Stortford College he is also one of the best!
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