In Poetry Changed Me, all kinds of people talk about how poetry has affected their lives. This post from is from fourteen-year old Olly Leonard: on school, slamming and Sienna Miller…

The winning poem for Sienna Miller's collection

Poetry has completely changed me: it has changed the way that I think, it has changed the way that I see life and it has changed the way that I write. I started writing poetry in spring 2009: my school, Tendring Technology College in Essex, was involved in putting on a poetry slam with the help of Adisa The Verbalizer and a group of English teachers. We spent lots of time working on writing, improving and performing our own pieces. The slam led to a staff-student poetry group called Rhythmatic Disposition (RD for short), which has been running ever since. We have since run three performance poetry events, playing to 250+ people, and we’re working on a fourth to tie-in with the Cultural Olympiad. RD members have also started to attend open mic nights and I made it to the final at my first ever ‘proper’ slam – Stanzamania at Colchester Arts Centre.

I also entered a competition run by Sienna Miller: the challenge was to write and design a poem which would be placed in the back pocket of every pair of jeans in Sienna Miller’s Spring/Summer Denim Jeans Collection 2012. Amazingly, I won!

I write new material all the time, posting it on our group’s Facebook page and trying it out in our weekly meetings to get feedback from other members of RD, and hopefully we’re going to publish an anthology of our work soon.

And that is how Poetry has changed me.