The international poetry festival launched this year’s schools programme with a big flavour of international fun.Poets Sara Hirsch (New Zealand) Valerie Bloom (Jamaica) and Mike Barfield (UK) had children roaring with laughter and creating poetry from unexpected sources. There were lots to learn about forms and language and even a crash course in Jamaican Patois.Boys and girls from schools around Ledbury were up for performing their own poetry with enthusiasm and pride.I was amazed at the quality of the young people’s word use. They all pushed the expectations for the age groups to the limits thanks to the talented poets. All three poets have made a point of encouraging creative writing in schools.”I didn’t want to just copy another artist work. I only felt I was learning when I was writing for myself. Independent writing and reading is key” – Mike Barfield.