Picador Poet Kate Clanchy shares the story behind new poetry anthology, England;Poems from a school and introduces some of the poets whose work features in the collection. England is published in paperback and ebook on 14th June 2018.
"For the past 9 years I’ve been working as Writer in Residence at my local comprehensive school, Oxford Spires Academy. It’s the chosen school of Oxford’s many migrants: more than 30 languages are spoken here, our students come from all over the world, and everyone, including the white British students, is a minority. That makes for a very special, open culture, and a very creative one too: our students paint, dance, act, and sing with enthusiasm, all the time. And they write: in fact, in the last five years, we’ve become the UK’s most successful poetry school, winning all the competitions for young people multiple times, creating a Ted Hughes Award nominated radio programme, and, most recently, enchanting Twitter and winning thousands of followers with their direct, moving verse.
England: Poems from a School brings together our very best poems in one anthology to create a rich portrait of England as it is experienced by its youngest migrants. The result is very likely to make you cry - but not just because of the sadness of some of the stories. There is an openness here, a warmth, a reality which speaks directly to the human heart. These are also poems to share and show: to young people and old, migrants and their neighbours. The poems document migration, which a central experience of our contemporary world, but they also remind us of the ancient purpose of poetry; to share, to explain, and to remember. "