All About Spoz
Spoz has been has been astounding audiences with his poetry, both young and old, since 2005. In that time he has been Birmingham’s Poet Laureate (2006 / 7), performed at Glastonbury Festival and Cheltenham Literature Festival to name just two of many and has facilitated poetry workshops at hundreds of schools, both in the UK and abroad. He has also been commissioned by the BBC on several occasions and even popped up on The One Show.
As well as his love of poetry and spoken word, Spoz’s first love was music – playing guitar and singing in many bands and recording an album the the “nearly made it”, indie pop / rock band, Stereogram in the nineties. It was his love of word play in song writing that launched Spoz into poetry all those years ago. Spoz has gigged with many poetic greats, such as John Cooper Clarke, Carol Anne Duffy, John Hegley, Hollie McNish and Attila the Stockbroker.
Spoz’s School Visits
Having won a few poetry slams himself, Spoz runs “Poetry Slam” days in schools, as well as “Early Engagement” workshops for students preparing for GCSE’s. He works with KS1 through to KS4 utilising rhythm, rhyme, word play and structure in his workshops and working with up to ninety students at a time, with his portable PA system and mics. Spoz is very flexible and can run short taster sessions of an hour each, up to whole day / multiple day sessions.
KS1 Specific Days
Song Re-writing – Spoz takes well known songs and helps the children re-write the lyrics to the structure of the song. This is currently popular with a “British Values” theme. Some time is spent examining the theme through a “wordburst mind map” and then creating the new song, which can be performed by all, accompanied by Spoz on his guitar. This addresses themes of phonics, rhyme and syntax.
The Poet-tree – Spoz uses rhyme and word association to create a huge collage of a ‘poet – tree’ which is displayed in the hall / class room. Lots of noisy fun with drawing and cutting out.
“I’ve Got Words … ” – Brainstorming lists of rhyming words and turning them into rhyming couplets with a prefix of “I’ve Got Words …”, creating an ever growing list poem for the class.
KS2 / KS 3 Specific Days
Poetry Slam Days – Fast paced (though slowed down a little for KS2) workshop exercises, culminating in an X-Factor style contest at the end of the school day. Large groups of up to 90 students (with suitable space and staff support) can be accommodated, working in teams of 6 to create a piece of work as a team, based on a theme of your choice. Popular themes are “British Values”, “Say No to Racism”, “Identity”, “Voices and Visions”.
Poetry Slam days can be used to create large scale “inter school” projects, where teams from a number of schools are selected to compete against each other. Spoz does this to great effect in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, where he manages and facilitates around sixteen schools, with Poetry Slam Final events in local theatres.
Here’s what Mrs Laura Sewell, Head of English at Cotswold School, said about Spoz’s Poetry Slam Days …
“Students always LOVE being involved in the poetry slams with Spoz. It can support their progress in so many ways and is engaging and fun at the same time. Students who lack confidence in performing or public speaking are able to develop strategies which help them overcome these obstacles through writing and performing their own work, as well as listening to their peers. The supportive and positive atmosphere, with each of them supporting one another, means that they try new things and are able to move out of their comfort zones. Poetry Slam comps have also helped prepare our students for the academic rigor of their exams as they have had to really think carefully about how they construct their work, not only because it will be performed, but also because they are writing about issues that are relevant to them. Would thoroughly recommend all schools to get involved!”
KS4 Specific Days
Getting ready to take on the poetry components of GCSE’s can be a bit daunting, so Spoz has created half day “Early Engagement” workshops that de-construct “Relationships” and “Conflict” themes into enjoyable and manageable chunks. The students also investigate “unseen” poems through the eyes of their authors and rewrite unseen poems, using existing structures, but with themes the students choose themselves. Up to and around 60 students (in teams of 6) can be accommodated in each half day session (120 in a full day), with each session culminating in the student teams presenting some of their work over the mic.
The Day the Earth Grew Hair!
Spoz’s first collection of poems for the young … and the young at heart. Poems about rapping, house flies and balloon dogs feature with many other slightly weird poems that splurged out of Spoz’s brain, all those years ago
Spoz’s Shorts… and the Occasional Long One
A collection of poems by the ever enthusiastic poet, writer, performer and musician, ‘Spoz’.
A collection of 52 poems from subjects as diverse as a hipster hamster, happy pirates, an avenging badger to how even superheroes need the toilet. Interspaced by illustrations from Joseph Witchall.
Described by poet A.F Harrold “Birmingham’s most surprising poet laureate has failed to grow up adequately. He writes for children without adults getting in the way.”
Recommendations & Reviews
“I would thoroughly recommend Spoz to bring poetry alive in your school”- Sharon Taylor, Head of English, Birchensale Middle School, Worcestershire.
“At the end, they all said they had a great time and had changed their view on poetry. He was wonderful and the pupils were amazing” – Andrea Clinton, English Dept. Colmers High School, Birmingham.
“Spoz has become an annual fixture in our literacy calendar and a highlight for the children!” – Amanda Doyle, Wolsey House Primary School, Leicester.
“Spoz was phenomenal! All students were thoroughly engaged and the day couldn’t have gone any better! Please pass on our thanks!” Laura Meyrick, President Kennedy School.
“I just wanted to let you know what a resounding success yesterday’s visit was. Spoz was brilliant. It was wonderful how he adapted his sessions for the different year groups and kept them interested and engaged. They really were buzzing and were keen to stay behind after the sessions to talk to him – a true reflection of how much they liked him.
We would definitely recommend him and would like to work together again in the future.
Very best wishes and thank you for suggesting him!”
Joanne Bowles, Librarian Tor Bridge High School
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Spoz, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org