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Dean Atta, Rachel Plummer and Gray Crosbie: LGBTQ+ poetry

Language: English
Genre: Activism, Gender, Identity, LGBTQ+, Poetry, Relationships
Age group: 12-14, 15-18
Audience: Young People

Watch poet Gray Crosbie as they speak to Dean Atta and Rachel Plummer about LGBTQ+ identities in poetry to celebrate National Poetry Day. In this event, Dean shares his novel in verse, Black Flamingo, the bold and beautiful coming-of-age story of Michael, who seeks to find his place in the world as a gay, mixed-race young man. And Rachel discusses Wain, their stunning and original collection of LGBT reimaginings of Scottish folklore, and reads two poems from the collection.

A full transcript of this event is available to download below. For shorter clips from this event, visit the BBC Scotland Learning(this link will open in a new window) website.

If you only do one thing...

We know time is tight, so here is one activity you could complete with your class before or after watching the broadcast.

Adapt the poem (ENG 3-19a, TCH 3-14a)

Ask pupils to create a digital version of one of the poems from Black Flamingo or Wain. Alongside the text from the poem, pupils can use images they feel convey the messages and emotions expressed. You can see an example of a digital slideshow at the end of the broadcast, which was created by the pupils from Calderhead High School.

There are many digital slideshow tools available online. If you have access to tablets, then you will be able to use iMovie to create your poem adaption. Other alternatives can be found online(this link will open in a new window) and many are available to download for free.

To get the most out of the activity, it’s useful to ask pupils to justify their choices of image and music. Do their images exemplify some of the points made by the poet? Do their images and music reflect some of the poetic techniques used? How does the pace and structure of their video reflect the pace and structure of the poem?

Extension activity: Pupils can write their own poem which they can use to create their digital slideshow. Based on the Calderhead High School video(this link will open in a new window), pupils can create their own poem starting with the line "I am..."

For more activities to explore poetry and spoken word, see our performance poetry learning resource below.

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