Manchester - Rap rhymes big-up young writers

14th May 2010 at 01:00

Pupils in Manchester have made big gains in their writing skills after being taught to perform in rap-style, head-to-head "slam poetry" contests.

The scheme, involving teenagers from eight secondary schools in the city, involves them in a culture that resembles the MC "battles" portrayed in the Eminem film 8 Mile.

Organised by Aim Higher, a scheme to encourage more pupils to apply to university, the sessions led to swift improvements in their writing.

Chris Jam, the performance poet who ran the sessions, said: "We want them to have the confidence to stand up in front of an audience and speak their mind.

"Through the whole MC culture we have been able to legitimise poetry. The pupils recognise lyrics from certain songs as poetry. They look at Tupac's lyrics and also see the links to poetry.

"We are trying to show them new forms of expression. After a couple of weeks, they started to write a couple of years above their actual age. The maturity was amazing." WS.

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