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Young Coffs Harbour poet takes out top spot at Australian Poetry Slam National Final

Tamsin Rose, October 18, 2017 7:35PM Herald Sun

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Solli Raphael performs. Picture: Clare Hawley media_cameraSolli Raphael performs. Picture: Clare Hawley

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A year seven student from the NSW north coast has scored a slam dunk at a national poetry competition, beating adults to score top spot.

Twelve-year-old Solli Raphael from Coffs Harbour became the youngest winner of the Australian Poetry Slam National Final after a nailbiting* tie-breaker in front of packed crowds at

the Sydney Opera House.

A poetry slam competition sees poets read their poems, without props or music, in front of an audience and judges. Points are awarded for writing and delivery*.

Solli said performing was nerve-racking, but he focused and was able to push through the fear.

“When I go on stage I just take it step by step and say what I need to say, no matter who is in the audience,” he said.

“Nerves are really hard but I just put them inside, say what I need to say and then just dance and run around afterwards and shake them all out.”

The young poet said he loves expressing himself through words.

“The thing about poetry is that it’s such a great thing to be able to write about anything that’s happening in the world or has happened or might happen, and to be able to put your own creativity and your own emotion in your own words,” he said.

His winning poems focused on the theme of equality for all people.

Solli was awarded $500 for the win on Sunday and is eligible* to travel to the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Indonesia, the Byron Writers Festival in Australia and the Hong Kong International Literary Festival.

Solli reacts to the win. Picture: Clare Hawley media_cameraSolli reacts to the win. Picture: Clare Hawley

Despite the success, Solli doesn’t just want to be an poet when he grows up and wants to be an author and inspire kids.

“Poetry will always be a part of me but I am writing two books at the moment so I really want to be an author,” he said.

”I really want to make sure young people dream big and go for their goals.”

Watch Solli’s winning performances in the video above.

GLOSSARY

  • nailbiting: close and nerve-racking
  • delivery: way it is spoken
  • eligible: meets the requirements

LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY

CLASSROOM AND VCOP ACTIVITIES
1. Write and perform a poem
Write a poem of your own to perform.
Slam poems are often written on political topics and performed very passionately.

Choose a topic that matters to you and write your poem to express your feelings on this topic.

Take some time to practise performing your poem until you are confident and then perform your poem for an audience.

Your audience could be a classmate, your teacher, your class, your parents or even a pet.

Extension:
Have a partner record your performance and then watch it back.
Think about one thing you think you did well and one thing you could work on for your next performance.

Time: allow 40 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Performing Arts, Big Write, VCOP- Vocabulary

2. Asking questions
Solli sounds like a very interesting 12-year-old.
Write down five relevant questions that you would love to ask him.
Make sure your questions cannot be answered with simple yes or no answers.

Extension:
“I really want to make sure young people dream big and go for their goals.”

Have a think about what Solli’s quote means to you and then write a paragraph explaining your big dream and why this is something you want to achieve.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP- Punctuation

EXTRA RESOURCES

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