Picture the Poet @ The National Portrait Gallery
Today is going to be a good day. We are on the train on the way down to London to visit the National Portrait Gallery to report on the Picture the Poet event. We will be tweeting throughout the day and adding to this article as we go.
Well after a short taxi ride from Kings Cross we arrived at the NPG ready to get set up for the day and who was one of the first people we bumped into ? The Poet himself Ian McMillan! He agreed to an interview over lunch so we best get some more questions written, time for a cup of tea and to plan recording our YJA tv intro.
The event began with an introduction from Liz Smith the Director of Participation and Learning at the National Portrait Gallery followed by a talk from Jane Sillis, the Director of Engage. She spoke to the lecture theatre about the aims and focuses of the National Literacy Trust and the role that Engage plays. “We think we are going to learn lots from being involved with Picture the Poet, there is great potential in this kind of project and these partnerships and young people from across the country will benefit” said Sillis.
After the talk with Jane Sillis we heard from Jonathan Douglas, the Director of the National Literacy Trust who gave us a brief introduction about the partnership between National Literacy Trust, National Portrait Gallery and Apples and Snakes. He gave us an insight on the work that the NLT produces. NLT is involved with charity work, they give children in poverty a chance to express the way they feel through poetry and creative writing. He told us that recent stats have shown that more children would rather write poetry than read a book in their spare time.
Ian McMillan, famous poet, broadcaster and radio presenter spoke in a humorous and motivating way about the happiness that he sees within poetry and writing it. We asked him what advice he had for potential young poets? He told the YJA team, “Read as much poetry as you can, write poetry all the time and write things down as often as you can and listen to other poets.” Sound advice there from Ian and he is definitely one poet we didn’t mind listening to, with his thick Yorkshire accent he seems to bring to life whatever he speaks about.
A fascinating day and a project that we can honestly recommend everyone try and get involved in. #picturethepoet.
Milly, Harriet & Sophie
YJA Team Reporting from London