Before his visit we watched some of his slam poems. We focussed on one of them called ‘Rena’. Te Kahu is from Matakana Island, so the Rena disaster had a huge impact on him and his whanau. We could see his passion for this issue come through in his poetry and the way he performed it. We also looked at how he played with words and used puns, rhyme, similes and metaphors to get his message across. Our class had been learning about plastic pollution and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This is an issue that we felt strongly about, so we decided to write our own slam poem about this to perform for Te Kahu when he came.
We worked collaboratively on the poem. After reading about plastic pollution, looking at pictures of it, and watching short videos about it, we decided to write about the life of a plastic bag. In our poem, we wanted to follow its journey from Taupo to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and to show the damage that it could do on its way. Our hope was that we would make people think twice before using plastic, and to understand what happens when we litter. We wrote our ideas down on big sheets of paper. Some of us wrote similes, like Carly, “plastic is floating down the river, flowing out to sea, like people on a swimathon.” Joe wrote a metaphor, “Caught in the wind, an eagle looking for prey.” Some of us played with words and used puns, like Ty’s “...plastic swirling around like a cycle, but not a re-cycle. If it had been recycled it wouldn’t be there!” and Wiremu with, “One piece of plastic, but there is nothing peace-ful about it.”
All of our ideas were compiled and we collaborated to turn them into our slam poem. Each of us had a part of it to present. We had to think of how we could present our part in a dramatic way to make people listen to our message. Te Kahu was a great inspiration, as he is such a passionate poet. We practised lots and were very excited to perform it for Te Kahu when he came. He loved it! He said that he had never seen a slam poem performed by more than three people, so 26 children performing one was very impressive. He asked us to video our poem and share it with him. Below you can see our video and also read a copy of our final poem. We hope you enjoy it! Can you identify all of the different poetic devices that we used?
Video- Plastic- not fantastic- Slam Poem here
We had a fantastic workshop with Te Kahu. He inspired us and helped us to write more poetry. He taught us about rhyme and personification. There is also a video of him performing for us, making up poems on the spot from topics that we gave him. It was amazing.
Te Kahu Freestyle Poetry video here