Poetry in schools and Education

Tony has been invited to read and perform at a number of universities and is referenced and/or quoted in several bachelor and masters degree essays and dissertations as well as in Dr Helen Gregory's Phd thesis on the sociology of slam poetry.  His work has appeared in three anthologies published by UCLAN, the University of Central Lancashire.  He has also:

*  Prepared and delivered a course for a Youth Dance England summer school for "young dance entrepreneurs" held at The Lowry Arts Centre.

*  Designed and delivered successful and popular workshops on slam poetry for a BBC Blast youth arts event in Wythenshawe.

*  Lead successful workshops with mixed ability, multi-racial school groups at Key Stage 3 and 4  These have included events around World Book Day, National Poetry Day and local history and could be tailored to meet any curriculum or PSHCE outcomes as required.  Tony is currently working on material suitable for Key Stage 1 and 2 children at primary level. 

As an Anglo-Irish, former council-house kid himself, and with his gritty, accessible poetry, Tony provides a positive white, working-class male role model to all young people.  His workshops and talks are full of words of encouragement and aspiration which challenge stereotypes and help many young people -  including those classed as "hard to reach" - to find their creativity and to use it as a positive outlet for  their feelings, ideas and frustrations. 

The following is the feedback from a single recent session in Chorlton High School, South Manchester.  The school is an Arts Academy and the session was a slam poetry workshop themed on local history.

"Bringing Tony into the classroom was the best service to poetry we could have done.  There was a real buzz in the room as Tony performed his poems and got the pupils to write and read theirs.  A very successful visit - the children came away loving poetry and having learnt a great deal about their city, Manchester."

Very enjoyable and that guy was wicked!

He's a really good poet and he's not like you would think a poet is.  He's not dead boring!

Really, really good and his rhymes were amazing!

Enjoyable.  Fun poetry.

His poems were pretty dutty! (cool/good)

Interesting and enjoyable.

Really taught me how to do poems.

It was well good! 

It was enjoyable and it made me think and find out more facts about Manchester.

It was fun to listen to him do his poems.

Interesting facts!

"At first I thought you looked like a right muppet.  But then I realised that you're a great muppet.  I mean poet!"


Bridge College held a Poetry Week which started on 23rd May 2011. To get the poetic thoughts going, a Manchester-based performance poet was invited to the event for 2 workshops with the students. Tony Walsh aka 'Longfella' led two, 2 hour-sessions where he performed a few of his own poems and also supported the students in writing poems of their own. All of the participants were fully immersed in the writing task and some great lines of poetry were created based on the students' favourite things, places and people. A smashing morning of poetry had by all. Thanks, Tony!

Will Lyon, tutor at Bridge College, Stockport  - a specialist FE college which is run by the Together Trust for students up to the age of 25 with learning difficulties and disabilities, complex needs, communication disorders and autism.

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