Visiting writer inspires pupils at Milton Keynes school to produce emotional works

Joelle Taylor with poetry students at St Paul's Catholic School
Joelle Taylor with poetry students at St Paul's Catholic School

The spoken word is a powerful tool and a poetry slam held at one of the secondary schools in Milton Keynes received a warm response from students and staff alike.

Award-winning spoken word artist, poet, playwright and author, Joelle Taylor, visited St Paul’s Catholic School to run a poetry workshop and poetry slam earlier this term.

With advice from Joelle, the students produced emotional and inspiring spoken word pieces on a range of topics including Grenfell Tower, religion, stereotypes, social injustice, the refugee crisis, equality and racism.

The students then performed their pieces in front of an invited audience of Year 9 students during an enthusiastic and energetic open mic style session.

All the students were hugely appreciative of their peers’ efforts and readily adopted slam culture by clicking their fingers when they liked or empathised with what was being said and giving hearty applause and cheers at the end.

Joelle was moved to tears by the students’ poetry and suggested that the students should set up their own slam club.

She said: “It’s inspiring to know there’s a new generation whose tongues are on fire and whose hearts are guiding the rest of us.”

Joelle, who is also a talent scout, was so impressed with the spoken word performances of year 10 student Maureen Onwunali that she has invited her to perform at an upcoming event.

English teacher Emma Exelby, who organised the event, said: “It was a thrilling experience for everyone involved. I thought our students demonstrated great passion and creativity and on behalf of St Paul’s would like to thank Joelle for running such a fantastic workshop for us.”