STUDENTS are well-versed in the art of poetry after a visit by one of the country most talented poets.

Dame Carol Ann Duffy, a former national poet laureate, visited Oldham Sixth Form College for a special poetry reading and question and answer session.

Pupils from three local secondary schools ­— Newman RC College, Saddleworth School and The Radclyffe School ­— were invited to the college for the special visit.

Dame Carol gave readings from her collection The World's Wife ­— a collection of poems subverting old stories and myths to give voice to female characters that have often been side-lined or ignored ­— and also from Mean Time.

Year 13 English Literature student, Megan Bruton said: “I gained a bigger insight into Duffy's work through hearing it and asking her about her preference for poetry over prose.

"I particularly enjoyed her recital of 'Mrs Faust', where the rhythm was intense and exciting, reflecting its timeless theme of the excessive pursuit of wealth."

Fellow sixth-former Lucy Haddock-Williams added: "Hearing Carol Ann Duffy read her poetry aloud gave a new and different perspective to her work, allowing me to think of fresh ideas and interpretations. Being able to ask my questions about poems directly to the poet is a rare opportunity and has given me inspiration for future study of poetry."

The poet's advice to aspiring poets was to read as much poetry as possible, analyse techniques used, and reflect on elements that they like or dislike.

Dame Carol said: “I love poetry as it speaks to me at different stages of my life.”

She said that her “presiding genius” will always be Shakespeare and her all-time favourite poem is ‘The Flea’ by John Donne.

Whilst the work of others has inspired her, she acknowledged that her work is influenced by a vast array of sources including music, history, paintings and everyday life.

Now Oldham Sixth Form College students are looking forward to welcoming Simon Armitage, current National Poet Laureate in November.