Finding Leon and Chris


Writing poetry is writing a diary, and thereafter a prompt to memories. So too is the poetry of others, in this case my students’ writing. I have been reading through poetry anthologies I compiled over years of their excellent writing, and whilst I confess I so often have forgotten names and faces – names, embarrassingly, when I meet some today, though not always – yet when I come across the names at the ends of their poems in these collections I by and large recall them immediately. It is wonderful. I am reminded too of the various journeys we took to get to their poems. What a privilege.

The previous posting from my 1992 pamphlet Finders Keepers didn’t prompt such a recall, but the poem I am posting here now from this does: the idea sourced, as it states, from a GCSE Oral Standardisation video tape which is a genuine hoot, and I will never forget the animated if obtuse trajectory these two lads took in discussing their response to Ted Hughes’ Hawk Roosting, a poem then in one of the GCSE Poetry Anthologies.

As the moderator for this particular Exam Board’s Speaking and Listening standardisation process for many years, I had the great pleasure of visiting with teachers from affiliated schools throughout Somerset as well as one on the Isle of Wight. It was a time of tremendous personal, professional development – meeting and working with fellow colleagues collectively at regional meetings and then in visits to their schools – as well as being in the wider context of the teaching profession, and in this case English teachers, feeling informed by the process because we generated the material with the Exam Boards. The national in-service element of this, along with annual trial marking with regional meetings for coursework assessment, provided a professional platform light-years beyond the minimalist online training currently given to examiners.

But to the poem [click on image to enlarge for easier reading]:


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