GCSE English students past and present got the chance to meet poetry superstar Benjamin Zephaniah in a visit arranged as part of their resit programme.
The Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London chatted with the students about writing poetry, and using English to narrate one's life story.
The dub poet first shot to fame in the 1980s with his unique and accessible work, which is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica. More recently the poet, who is also severely dyslexic and did not learn literacy skills until he entered adult education, headed up the BAFTA-nominated Sky Arts series Life & Rhymes.
Benjamin said: “I really loved spending time with the students from Uxbridge college. They came to interview me, but it was much more than that. I got to know quite a lot about them too, and they were all interesting and talented people. It was like hanging out with creative friends, talking about life, and sharing ideas. I wish all 'interviews' were like that.”
Bianca Fanciullacci, Head of Cross College English and maths, GCSE and Functional Skills, at Uxbridge College, who arranged the visit, said: “This was a brilliant opportunity for our students to learn about the power of poetry first hand – meeting Benjamin Zephaniah was definitely one of the highlights of their GCSE English learning. English and maths resits are a key part of college life which are taught in addition to students’ higher level courses where needed, and we make every effort to make them as lively and engaging as possible.”
The group who met Benjamin are also on Level 3 Performing Arts courses, based at Uxbridge College’s Praxis Theatre at the Hayes campus.