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26th May 2016

Sydney Distance Education High School Workshops

By Lorin Elizabeth


Last week, I arrived at Sydney Distance Education High School to lead two workshop/performances for the school’s Big Day In meet up, where students visit campus to take part in fun and creative learning sessions. I was a bit worried that poetry would be everyone’s last choice. I was reminded to never underestimate young people.

I entrusted my first group of students with a love poem, which they carried delicately before starting their own.

While some began by insisting that I rap (I wish), ten minutes later they were expanding metaphors and discovering their own near rhymes. One student helped us understand that writing poetry can be intrinsically linked to place and that she wasn’t at her creative best in the classroom. Later that evening, she tagged me in her completed poem on Instagram, coupled with a photograph that added to the poetic experience. Success!


“Love is the sun — when it blooms, it's an explosion of colour, painting the endless ecstatic emotions experienced when in love. Then, when time goes by, and the sun grows high, the colours fade, and the feelings wade out. Soon, all is seen is a lonely blue, and a lonely mood that is despair. If only they could last forever, life would be much better. Another day comes by, another colourful morning sky, and another colourful love — it's the cycle of life.” » A little thing I had attempted to write during a workshop at the Big Day In at my school, but I could never put the idea and visuals to words. I had just attempted it, now, as a caption to this photo (what a nice coincidence that I just so happened to capture a beautiful photo of the sunset!) and it just came out. I guess I have to be in the mood for it, hahah. [also, I know that I'm referring to the sunrise in the text, yet the photo is of the sunset, but oh well]

A photo posted by Your Girl Gigi 🌸 (@shippinglarina) on May 18, 2016 at 1:01am PDT


The most rewarding moment of the day was when I mentioned how awesome it was to see everyone writing, and another student piped up saying that she had never taken part in school events before, but when she saw our session description about spoken word, she decided to be super brave and show up. She wrote the beginning of a beautiful poem about locked doors and I was left speechless.

To close my account of a successful day of heart-warming word smoothies, I will paraphrase one of my favourite (dark) metaphors, from English teacher Lelsley-Ann, “love is like fish and chips – you want to eat and eat but by the end, you feel sick”.



Lorin Elizabeth is a poet engaged with Red Room Poetic Learning.

Lorin Elizabeth is a spoken word poet and co-founder/host of the Enough Said poetry slam at Studio 19 in Wollongong. She has graduated from a journalism and creative writing double degree and now spends her time learning the lyrics to rap albums. Lorin also works with young people as part of the Stand Tall Speak Out High School Poetry Slam in Bankstown and is currently running a series of special workshops with The Red Room Company... read more »

Read more about Sydney Distance Education High School Workshops here »