Attendees at last month’s Young Writers Festival contributed individual lines to create an epic poem in celebration of First Story’s 15th birthday.
During the lunch expo, festival host John Berkavitch invited everyone to ‘roll up’ and take part in a creative writing challenge. Plucking two numbered balls from his tombola drum, Berko invited players to choose from his left or right hand. On the table was a list of 99 random words. The numbers on the balls corresponded to words in the list. Also on the table lay a huge scroll of paper. Each new player had to write an original sentence, incorporating their chosen word, and add it to the scroll below the last player’s line. Finally, players were invited to erase the word they had just used, and replace it with a new word of their choice.
Needless to say, this activity was loads of fun. Students, teachers and staff were all tempted to have a go. By the end of the lunch hour, the paper scroll was filled with all manner of weird and wonderful lines; it easily measured the length of our festival MC.
Returning to the main hall for the festival’s showcase session – flourishing the scroll – Berko really got the audience fired up for a thrilling afternoon of readings, with an electric performance of our new poem. (What else to expect from an acclaimed spoken word artist and former UK Slam Poetry Champion?)
Everyone in the festival hall was blown away by this new ‘tombola poem’. We hope you enjoy it too.
First Story 15
A collaborative poem by participants at the Young Writers Festival 2023
Fifteen years Hiding in the light. All gems glow from within. Life is a circle, Some people are built like squares But here, everybody fits in. Fun runs through my veins - The feeling is electrifying! A vision expressed through language: Overcoming anguish, Bubbling like champagne, Fizzing in these young brains. Spinning like a child Drunk on dopamine. Shake that booty. Life is a disco. Do your duty. School is long From bottom to top. Life is short, don’t let the party stop. My favourite places are old books and green lawns, refresh, fresh, sunlight, spring, dawn. Help me to interpret true pleasure in life, Just let me be myself Without the need to fight. Life is like a carnival so joyous and fun, We fly on the breeze, So freely we run. Blank faces become blank spaces to be filled in. If we all work together, everybody wins. Sun, like fire, glows in my eyes. Raucous people suddenly appear. Open hearts that welcome surprise, Wipe away your paint like tears. I feel a warm breeze swing me around, It is the most delightful thing imaginable. Time to rejuvenate, Give it your all, breaking free and having a ball, Paint a picture, Write a novel, Cook a meal, For friends to gobble. Each part of the hook impressing the cook, Laughing the tatters into the spine of my favourite book. Let the shriek be heard! Whisper a word, hum or sing, Eat some pie, Do your thing. Write a story, lose the plot and then? Cross it all out and begin again. The volume of the music rang through my ears. People can change like winds or fears. Dancing to our brains, Your hand in mine, Landing in a strange Land beyond time. All we ever need do is to try, From London to Luxemburg Mali to Manchester: Hold me like the day holds the sapphire sky, And sway to the sounds of my ancestors.
Help us celebrate our milestone year by donating to our 15th fundraising appeal here.