On Monday 28th February, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester housed 2023 Poetry live aimed at those in years 10-11. Throughout the event many renowned poets performed their work and explained the backstory of their poems as well as answering questions from those in the audience. Throughout the 4 hours Simon Armitage, John Agard, Carol Ann Duffy, Imtiaz Dharker, Daljit Nagra, Owenn Sheers all shared their writing to help educate and persuade those of the younger generation to keep this art form alive.  

Closing the event was the poet John Agard, famous for his work titled ‘half-caste’. Through his set, Agard frequently switched from talking to poetry, often morphing his words into something recognisable. Whilst speaking it was clear he wanted to inspire the audience before him, talking about his work in a reachable way – as if anyone within the room could achieve what he has done. When performing his poems he brought the words to life, visually explaining the story and message behind it, the emphasis and dragging of certain words or phrases made the emotions within the poem clear and the message of the poem attainable. In an interview with a student who attended poetry live they stated: ‘it was clear he really cared about his work, and he cared about the people who read it’. This feeling seemed to have been shared by all of those who attended the event as Agard was given the loudest applause and was pleased to interact with those interested in his story. 

In his poem ‘half-caste’ Agard took his audience on a journey of his personal affairs and experiences and invited them to sympathise and attempt to understand the effect actions and words have on those who may already struggle with self-identity. By choosing to write the poem in first person, Agard enabled a bond to be created between the reader and the words displayed in front of them, he succeeds in creating a sense of urgency however creates a sense of homeliness due to the softness in his voice whilst reading one of his most famous works. ‘Half-caste’ is necessary in the teachings of life and identity and deserves to be celebrated.