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National Poetry Day 2022

The theme of this year’s National Poetry Day is the environment. The class of 2e in the International British Section enjoyed creating kennings to describe natural features like rain, trees, birds, soil and rivers.

We enjoyed listening to the opening lines of Beowulf read in Old English by an expert from the Medieval Manuscripts team in the British Library. The extract included the kenning ‘whale road’ used to describe the sea.

We then took inspiration from the poem ‘Sun Kennings’ by James Carter to create the structure of our poems celebrating nature. You can listen to the poets performing their work here:

Thank you for the music!

Our starting point was Robert Johnson and his pact with the devil via the soundtrack of the iconic film ‘The Blues Brothers’. We looked at the connections between the myth, legend and musical traditions in Europe and Africa and how they were transposed and integrated into those of the USA to create the musical family tree celebrated by Jack Black in ‘School of Rock’.

Each group of students chose a musical clan descended from the Blues in the USA and created a set of playing cards. The groups had to collaborate to create cards that were united but also reflected what made each artist chosen unique. Creating the visual identity for the sets of cards encouraged debate and discussion about the layout, colour and symbolism. 

ASIBA poetry competition results 2022


Congratulations to the three finalists from lycée Lucie Aubrac! The theme of this year’s competition was AIR.

There were 88 entries from 22 schools around the world this year, 45 in the 3e/2de category and 43 in the 1e/Tle one. Seven finalists went through to each category.

OIB Cambridge Inspector, Dr Celia O’Donovan, chose the winning poems: ‘It has been an enjoyable experience reading the poems that made it to the final and, as always, it has been difficult to decide on the winners… The young poets… wrote with maturity and flair. To have made it to the final shortlist
is a great honour and all the finalists should be proud of their achievement,’.

Mahé was selected as a finalist in the Junior category with her poem ‘Heaven Life’. The poem ‘Angel’, co-authored by Ajar and Océanne, went through to the final of the Senior category.

Poetry in Movement drama workshop

The students in the British English section began celebrating this year’s Semaine des Langues in a multilingual poetry workshop led by two actors from Theatraverse, a bilingual theatre company based in Courbevoie. It was a fantastic way to highlight the importance of sound and rhythm in poetry.

The students were delighted with the workshop and send their thanks to the Courbevoie Town Hall and Theatraverse for enabling the workshop to take place.

London Loves Literature

From William Wordsworth to the Clash via Charles Dickens and Philip Pullman, the city of London has become more than a simple backdrop for the events of a novel. London is a living, breathing character in the texts we studied, reflecting the diversity within the city.

In the second term of their first year in the International Section in the lycée, students in Seconde study a range of literary texts and extracts as well as a BBC adaptation of Great Expectation by Dickens in order to better understand the ways in which writers use setting to explore themes and develop characterisation.

The final task of the term is to combine the skills and knowledge acquired to develop a literary festival celebrating London’s place in literature. The students were given a design brief and a list of evaluation specifications that had to be met. They also had the option to work individually or as part of a team.

The resulting comic strips, short stories, brochures, audio guides and art installations were outstanding.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

According to Oscar Wilde ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ and the students in 1e British English Section hope that the American director, Tim Burton, will agree if he sees their recent creations.

As part of the Gothic literature synoptic topic studied for the OIB oral exam, the class looked at how Gothic elements have permeated literature, art and architecture at different moments in time. To show that they had fully understood what elements Burton uses to create the Gothic aesthetic for which he is so well-known, the students had to choose a character or person from today’s popular culture and put the character through a process of ‘Burton-isation’.

The characters chosen included Noddy, Alice in Wonderland, Betty Boop, Snow White, the Simpsons and Tweety Pie.

The challenge proved eerie-sistible and the results were completely spook-tacular.


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