I  arrive, alone, at about half past eight,

Cowering before the giant iron gate.

What if the kids don’t like me?

What if the teachers are cruel?

Will I survive my first day of school?



(Me, aged 11)


Hi, I’m Chris Robinson, Shadow Poet working with Jeff Price of Radical Words and J Holloway and pupils from St John’s School, Bishop Auckland, for the North East regional Shake the Dust slam competition.  I’m an emerging poet and spoken word artist.  I’ve performed at many venues across the North East, including the Tyne and Wear metro stations, a retro launderette and a poetry take away wagon, creating and performing made-to-order poetry to audiences as part of  Durham Lit Fest 2011.

I am excited to be part of such an excellent project and I’m looking forward to learning how all of the North East teams approach the competition.  I’m eager to learn the poetry slam process from start to finish and hope to build my confidence in working with groups of pupils in mainstream schools.

Each team in the North East region are at various stages in the competition.  Our own team have, so far, spent 1 full day’s session working with 60 pupils.  4 slams took place that day and some excellent work was generated.  Here are a couple of examples of the poetry that came out of that first day:

Determination by The Amazing Alpaca’s

Don’t stop going, you gotta keep it flowing,

Better to lose it all, than to give up the fight.

Don’t lose the faith, don’t stop believing,

You gotta stand your ground with all your might.


Respect by The Perfect Panda’s

Respect, it’s a word with many meanings.

Give it out, and you won’t hurt any feelings.

Respect your peers, their opinions too,

Give respect to me and I’ll give it back to you.

Respect – you gotta give it to get it, bruv.


The first day was fast paced and fun and I’m looking forward to the next 3 sessions we have planned in the next few weeks.

My first day at school has come to a close

It’s time to go home and unwind

In the end, there was nothing to worry about

The kids were great and the teachers were kind







(Me, aged 31)