Poetry@Puxi: Reflecting on a week filled with poetic expression

Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.
—Edgar Allen Poe

Poetry Week is one of the highlights of the Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi calendar and with good reason. There have been many highlights from visiting poet Mark Grist to our House Poetry Slam and from personal recitals as part of the English-Speaking Board assessment to flash mob performances at lunchtime. The week has been characterised by high levels of energy, enthusiasm and engagement. In addition to being lots of fun, Poetry Week is important for three powerful reasons:


Poetry Week provides a valuable opportunity for public speaking and performance, developing students’ communication skills and building their self-confidence.

Enrichment and International Mindedness

Poetry Week broadens students’ horizons, deepening and enriching their appreciation of literature and introducing them to a diverse range of viewpoints and cultural traditions.


Poetry Week supports wellbeing. Poetry encourages self-reflection and self-expression. It provides a unique voice on humanity, our relationships and our place in the world.


Well done and thank you to everyone involved. Looking back at 2020 and the challenges of COVID-19, I offer a final poem for our community to reflect upon:

by W E Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
     Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
     For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
     I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
     My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
     Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
     Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
     How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,

     I am the captain of my soul.

Below please enjoy the highlights from Poetry Week.

Early Years and Primary School

In Early Years and Primary, the corridors have been over-flowing with haikus, acrostics, slams, couplets and ballads. We have savoured sonnets, and loved limericks, and in our early years we have been moving in time to rhythm and rhyme.


Poetry Week is a highlight of the calendar at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi. Engaging with poetry allows children to acquire rich, figurative language, and provides them with the power to inspire, motivate, express, or instill emotion. By using poetry, our children are equipped with the eloquence to unite or divide, activate or reflect, calm or provoke.

Throughout the week, each child from toddler up to year 6 have performed on stage through class performance, pop up opportunities, or house competitions. We have enjoyed visiting the Dulwich Poetry museum – an immersive experience combining visual and audio representations of poems by significant authors. We have even crowned our master tongue-twister! Congratulations to Panos in Y5, and Earhart House, who are the winners of our House poetry slam competition, and Aidan in Y2 and Jessie in Y4 who are the winners of the tongue twister competition. Thank you to all of our fantastic parents who have supported this week!


Senior School

In Senior School, we have had a rich Poetry Week. We welcomed guest poet Mark Grist, who amazed us with his rap poems and insights into the world of poetry. All students had a session with Mark where they were able to workshop their ideas into a poem and we were delighted he was share his experiences (and a poem) during the Senior School Assembly.

Students were able to share their work with the wider community by taking part in the Open Mic sessions at break and lunch, speaking over the school tannoy during morning registration, inclusion in the Puxi Poetry Anthology, and during the House Poetry event. Here, we saw three poets represent each House, articulating their thoughts on the theme of ‘change’ – in a variety of languages. It was wonderful to see the students supporting each other, overcoming their nerves, and celebrating the words they had thoughtfully composed.


Why is poetry important?

Poetry is important because it gives people a way of expressing themselves and their hopes, dreams and despairs through the written word and performance. It is also an important story telling device and has been used by almost every human culture in different forms to pass stories, myths and legends down generations. In performance, poetry is delivered in recitals, plays and songs, all ways of expressing oneself. Throughout the centuries poetry has been used as a form of communication as well. Its importance lies at the heart of many human cultures and it should be enjoyed and respected in its importance.

—Isabel, Year 11
Head Student