Regent’s Year 13 Poetry Retreat 2012 – Education for Pleasure


The Year 13 ‘Poetry Retreat’ to Khao Chamao is a real highlight in the Secondary calendar.  During the last weekend in March our most senior students go back to nature and back to basics to devote an intensive 48 hrs purely to the study of poetry.

This year’s retreat was perhaps the best in memory.  Students were required to analyse, scrutinize, evaluate, speculate, debate and discuss works by the poets Emily Dickinson, Carol Ann Duffy, Wieslawa Szymborska and Margaret Atwood in preparation for Paper 2 of their English Literature examination in May.

Pondering on the rhythm, rhyme and musicality of poetry.Pondering on the rhythm, rhyme and musicality of poetry.

The activities on offer ranged from crepuscular poetry recitals by candlelight, to a poetry parade ending in poetry debating on rocks betwixt beautiful waterfall pools.  Also included was ‘poetry speed dating’ and a new highlight, Father Liam Wilson’s Sunday Service, which explored the rhyme, rhythm and musicality of Dickinson’s poems by setting them to 19th century hymns.

Head of English, Mr Adam Pickles, reported that preparations for the examination during the weekend had been “very thorough indeed”.  He praised his team for their creative and dynamic delivery of activities and added that the “approach, effort and learning of the Year 13 group had been magnificent.”

Poetry debating on rocks.Poetry debating on rocks.

Students Alvin Li and Marina Sazhumyan returned home from the event wearing the coveted ‘Poet Laureate’ yellow jackets in recognition of their outstanding performances during the weekend.

Conditions were extremely hot and humid during the weekend and students managed to find a little time to cool off in the pools of Khao Chamao.  Certain individuals were even able to enjoy brief encounters with some of the local aquatic life.

The Year 13 ‘Poetry Retreat’ – the name promises so little, and yet it delivers so much.  A wonderful time was had by all.

Year 13s excited for Khao Yai.Year 13s excited for Khao Yai.