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Latest News

Posted on March 12th 2020

Dean Atta Turns Students into 'Ghazal' Poets

The fabulous poet Dean Atta joined a group of Year 8 students for a masterclass in poetry earlier this week.

Dean introduced himself with an inspiring piece of poetry about how to write a poem. "I loved the poem because it was creative and outspoken," said Aliyah. Who knew poetry could be so rebellious?!

Next, everyone recapped the fascinating story of the Koh-i-Noor diamond and how it ended up in the Tower of London.  "It is a sad and unsettling story because it highlights how Britain grew its Empire at the expense of other countries," said Aliyah.

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Britain took precious artefacts from the countries they had colonised and kept them for the Crown Jewels, for example. In the case of the Koh-i-Noor, the diamond was taken from a child maharaja. Maisy said: "It was sad to find out the history of Britain and how our country used to invade other nations for their own amusement and wealth."

After reviewing the story of the Koh-i-Noor, Dean showed the students how to develop a vocabulary list for their poem, which is an essential part of poetry writing. Before the girls could start writing, Dean laid down a poetry challenge! The girls had to write in the style of a Ghazal. Ghazals must include five rhyming couplets and each line must have 12 syllables.

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Inspired by the history of the Koh-i- Noor, armed with some brilliant vocabulary and fully aware of the writing conventions, the students spent the afternoon creating their own poems.

At the end of the workshop, the students read out their work and celebrated one another’s achievements. In the space of two hours, Dean transformed the room of students into a room full of poets!

Isobel’s poem

It cannot be argued, I'm utterly flawless.

Yet I was obtained in a way that's just lawless.

I'm a glittering star in a dark, bitter night.

The monarchs who stole me were completely contrite.

An ancient betrayal keeps me locked in this tower.

A hostage, displayed so a queen can show power.

I'm a story, a legend, a thing you are told.

But my features are stunning, a thing to behold.

Shimmering, glimmering I light up the sky.

But the question still stands, was my story a lie?

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Group poem

The Koh-Noor is known as the Mountain of Light,

The property of royalty: opulent, bright.

The bitter taste of blood from an innocent soul,

The Koh-i-Noor’s story is dark as a black hole.

You glisten pricelessly like a star in the sky,

But all that lurks behind your story is a lie.

The Mountain of Light was given to royalty,

But the cruel queen knew nothing of loyalty.

The queen’s nasty heart was rotten and full of greed,

While the emperor’s subjects tried to bend and plead.

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What students said...

"Dean is an amazing poet with a very good sense of humour. He made the workshop amazing and lively!" Mackenzie

"Dean made writing the poem easy. Usually, I’m not a fan of writing poetry but the way Dean introduced the vocabulary first made writing enjoyable." Maisy

"I used to think poetry was a bit hard and boring but after attending the workshop, Dean has made me realise poetry isn’t as hard or complicated as it seems. It was great to meet Dean because he has shown me that people from different backgrounds can be professional writers. It gives me the confidence to know that I can achieve my aspiration to become a professional author." Aliyah

"Dean is an entertaining, funny and glamorous poet!" Lea

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