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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

02 July 2022

Posted by Beth McKeeman

Poetic Perseus

Juniors -  7 Young - 7

Continuing on from last week, both groups were back at it with the Greek Mythology.

The best take from our field trip was that Perseus is a ‘pick me boy’, like Harry Potter. Someone who is full of themselves, bragging, and always wants to be different even though they’re not - after all the sea nymphs could have given anyone the presents of the mirrored shield, invisibility helmet, flying shoes and bag. The second best take was ‘Ancient Greeks are known for their togas, wear them’ and a debate over how useless a single shared tooth between three people would be after Rafsan did some further reading on the Graiae.

After going back over the story, our Junior writers each picked a character from the story which stood out to them and made an acrostic with their name. Characters included Perseus, Pegasus, Medusa, Andromeda, Medusa and the Gorgons.

Our Young Writers also recapped the exhibition, reflecting on the fact that retellings they had heard were different. We often see this in oral tradition as what is important in an event or story for one person isn’t the same for another and so what gets focused on or elaborated is different depending on the narrator - imagine a centuries long game of Chinese Whispers with millions of participants.

We started the session by also picking a character that had stood out to us and coming up with a handful of kennings (two word compounds that describe something indirectly like a riddle) for them. These could then be woven in to the other techniques we were using.

Firstly, a Haiku. Haiku’s are three line poems where the first line has 5 syllables, the second 7, and the final 5. By giving the Haiku a title you can avoid using up syllables on names, which is particularly helpful on names like Andromeda which use up nearly your entire allocation.

Before continuing to think about syllables, we tried the easier version of the cinquain. This is a five line poem.
Easy version:
Line 1 = 1 word. The subject of the poem, which could be the characters name.
Line 2= 2 adjectives, describers
Line 3 = 3 verbs, action words ending in ing
Line 4 = 4 word phrase or sentence relating to your feelings about the character
Line 5 = Either 1 word synonym for the character OR 5 words of feelings linking back to the first line.

The cheat to this goes back to the kennings we came up with, which usefully count as one-word whilst slyly being two. That doesn’t help for the harder version though.

Hard version:
Line 1 = 2 syllables
Line 2 = 4 syllables
Line 3 = 6 syllables
Line 4 = 8 syllables
Line 5 = Either 2 syllables or 10 syllables

All the poems which we made today have gone to the Mayflower Engage team and will be appearing on their social media over the coming months leading up to the Engage Summer Youth Production of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical based on the book by Rick Riordan all about Greek mythology. Keep an eye out for all our work!

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