The perfect time for poetry


Yesterday Ofsted announced that GCSE pupils taking English literature exams next year won’t be required to study poetry.

There is apparently “significant concern” about teachers’ ability to cover all the required topics in the time they have available after the closure of schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

This story was reported on the evening news and came after the reports about that devastating explosion in Beirut.

Those poor people in that beleaguered nation.

Bel Trew, Middle East correspondent for the Independent, who lives in Beirut, reported these words which express the depth of their tragedy:

“We just can’t take any more, it isn’t possible,” said one woman, who had been treated for a minor head injury.

“We have no money, no food, no electricity, now our houses are destroyed, and family members are missing. It feels like the end of the world.”

What has this got to do with poetry? Everything.

Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese poet explains it better than I ever could:

Poetry is an opportunity to express emotions and explore creativity in a way which is especially important at times of difficulty or crisis.

Just spend half an hour in a class of primary school children writing poetry and you will discover that it is a natural outflow of ideas and expression unlike any other form of communication.

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis it has been an incredibly important emotional outlet for many people. We helped to promote a poetry writing competition during lockdown for our client Earthwatch which produced a huge response. Partly this is down to our great PR skills of course, but it also proves that poetry is important to a lot of people.

So now is absolutely not the time to say there isn’t time for poetry. It should be taught in schools to GCSE level, leading children to discover their own talents, express their emotions; and as way to help them make sense of the world.

For a perfect poetry compendium for our troubled times or a troubled mind I thoroughly recommend The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-True Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind and Soul  by William Sieghart.

To support the people of Beirut there are many options, here is just one I recommend, the Lebanese Red Cross:

If you would like to explore how we could provide some poetic PR for you please do give me call or email