NEW Teaching Resource – practise the unseen

blue space scene with orange and white stars and planets, and the words ' You Speak in Constellations'Every year, we collect the winning and commended poems from the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award in two anthologies: the winners’ anthology, which appears in print and online, and the commended poets’ anthology, which appears in digital form only. You can find all our past anthologies here.

In this video resource (click play below), Teacher Trailblazer Gareth Ellis uses PowerPoint and commentary to take us through how to use the latest winners’ anthology to practise analysis of an unseen text. Gareth is the Library Manager at Whitley Bay High School in North Tyneside, where he also teaches English and Creative Writing. The poem he uses as an example in this resource is Preesha Jain’s ‘my grandmother’, a top 15 poem in the 2020 Foyle Young Poets Award. You might find it helpful to download a separate copy of the poem here for annotating as you go along. If you’d like to use the slides in your own lessons, you can download them here.

The anthologies from the 2020 Award, You Speak in Constellations, are available to read here (winners’ anthology) and here (commended poets’ anthology). We are also happy to send class sets of the print anthologies to schools in the UK for free. If you would like to request a class set, along with some posters advertising the competition, please contact us at [email protected]

Teachers can enter their students’ poems into this year’s competition at foyleyoungpoets.org. The competition is free to enter and is open to poets aged 11-17 anywhere in the world. There is no theme, and the deadline is 31 July 2021.

You can find lots more teaching aids in connection with the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award here, including lesson plans by Gareth and fellow Teacher Trailblazers, based on other winning poems. Also check out our latest in-depth exploration of one of the winning poems, Libby Russell’s ‘Love Poem to Young Offenders Support Workers’: this resource includes a lesson plan, an interview with the poet, discussion points for analysis, creative writing prompts, and an extension exercise.