Last week Harry Baker first appearance was at the middle school. After an enthralling performance at an assembly, he then began working with the high-schoolers. For 3 whole days Harry Baker managed to impact both the staff and students at ISKL.
Mrs. Pontifex explained how finding this poet to begin with included going onto an international librarians forum. This year, Ms Pontifex was looking for ‘something really different. I mean someone that would be a firecracker and really grab people’s attention.’
While many authors are known for their rigid or ‘inflexible’ nature Mrs. Pontifex really wanted someone that would work well with the students. ‘Nobody had anything negative to say about him: how creative he was, how energetic, how charismatic and how well he worked with the kids.’
Through a company called Authors Abroad, ISKL was able to contact Harry Baker directly and agree on when he would come and visit the school. This having been planned last year in December was no short wait for the arrival of the poet.
Mrs. Pontifex, along with everyone else at ISKL was blown away by the presence of a world renowned poet. ‘He hit a part of everybody that saw him and I could see it in everyone’s faces. The middle school administrators kept on coming back and they don’t do that. They really made time for him.’
In regards to his impact on the students at ISKL, it is hard to find a single student who was not moved by the performances they witnessed. Micah ‘17 mentions how ‘It opened me up to the possibility of more slam poetry. I also really like that he incorporated math in his work because that’s one of the things I really like.’
Kian ‘17 also opened up: ‘When I first found out that I was into poetry I was worried about my masculinity. Harry Baker showed me that you can still be cool and a guy and like poetry and perform poetry, that made me feel really good.’
Isabelle ‘18 was content with ‘ a new opportunity for listening, which was challenging, he showed us how to organize our thoughts into what could be a slam poem’.
Despite the long process of finding this one influential poet, no one can deny that it was worth it. Mrs. Pontifex concludes with ‘I just feel so so happy that he could come here and that we got a little bit of Harry Baker, because I think he is quite extraordinary.’