A Poet Laureate for Stoke on Trent.

*Update*

My thanks to everyone who has contacted me in support of this idea. Stoke on Trent City Council have taken the project on, and an announcement will be made in May.

 

One of the many community projects I intend to see initiated is the appointment of a Poet Laureate for Stoke on Trent.

But what is a Poet Laureate, and what do they do?

Quite simply, he/she is an appointed figurehead, tasked to compose poetry to commemorate occasions deemed of interest to the community. It is usually an honorary title, although it was once paid in alcohol! (That’s a real writer’s wage!)

The current UK Poet Laureate is Carol Ann Duffy. The current UK Children’s Poet Laureate is Chris Riddell.

 

220px-Benjamin_Jonson_by_Abraham_van_Blyenberch
Ben Jonson – Britain’s first Poet Laureate (appointed 1617).

 

Stoke on Trent has never had a Poet Laureate. Actually, that is not strictly 100% true. We have a junior Laureate (currently Isobel Horsley, Lichfield) who represents both Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent, but we do not have a senior laureate who represents the city (merely Staffordshire as a county)- at least not yet. This struck me as odd considering as we are bidding for the City of Culture 2021.

I have been working with the Lord Mayor  Anthony Munday, and Councillor Abi Brown, to establish a plan to crown Stoke on Trent’s first senior Poet Laureate. I soon hope to share more details of how this process will work.

Aside from the bid, I feel it is important that we as a city create this post, as a way to continue to promote creative writing/poetry in the area,  and to recognise the poets presently working in the city by offering them a platform to share their efforts.

Stoke on Trent has a rich and varied history, and its present is shaping up to be both culturally tantalising and unpredictable – I am sure each Laureate will find ample inspiration for their future works.

Furthermore, this is a title that will be awarded for years to come – I intend the position to far outlast me!

Please feel free to share this post, and thank you for your continued support.

My thanks to Anthony Munday, Abi Brown and Fred Hughes.

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