Could you be Coventry’s Poet Laureate?

Published Monday, 10 May 2021

The search is now on for Coventry’s Poet Laureate and Young Poet Laureate, who will pen verses for the city and its significant events.

Coventry Library Service and Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 are recruiting for two exciting honorary roles as part of the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival, BBC Arts’ poetry and spoken word festival, which is taking place in Coventry this year.  

Peter Barnett, Head of Service for Libraries and Migration for Coventry City Council, said: “This is such an exciting opportunity for any Coventrians who are passionate about writing and performing poetry.

“We know that there is a wealth of talent contained within the city, and I’m so looking forward to discovering who will be named Coventry Poet Laureate and Coventry Young Poet Laureate, and what they will create.”

The Coventry Poet Laureate and Coventry Young Poet Laureate will be asked to undertake a small number of honorary duties during their tenure, including writing poems to commemorate significant moments, giving performances of their work and encouraging an interest in poetry across the city.

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director at Coventry City of Culture Trust said: “Coventry has a rich literary history and culture, including celebrated poets such as Philip Larkin, comedians such as Guz Khan and spoken word artists such as Ghostpoet. Having both the Young Poet Laureate and Poet Laureate positions will celebrate and champion that history, but it is also an incredible opportunity to showcase the poetic talent that exists in the city today.

“This is a great chance to hear from poets from across the city, and we hope a programme that will continue in the city for many years to come.  We are really looking forward to seeing the talented poets of Cov come forward to show us why they should be a Coventry Poet Laureate.”

Lamia Dabboussy, BBC Head of Arts said: “Our Contains Strong Language poetry festival celebrates the best emerging and established creative voices – on the page and on the stage. These honorary roles are a fantastic opportunity to spotlight unique Coventrian voices and we can’t wait to hear what they have to say.”

Applicants for the role of Coventry Poet Laureate must be 18 years or older on 31 August 2021. Coventry Young Poet Laureate applications are welcomed from those aged between 13 years and under 18 years old on 31 August 2021.

The posts will be run until 5 October 2023, when two new Poets Laureate will be appointed.

A series of free workshops will be held for anyone interested in applying for the posts:

  • Coventry Young Poet Laureate Workshop - 2pm, Saturday 29 May
  • Coventry Poet Laureate Workshop - 2pm, Saturday 12 June

To book onto the workshops, or find out more about the roles and apply, go to: www.coventry.gov.uk/poetslaureate

The deadline for applications for the Coventry Poets Laureate is Monday 19 July 2021 at 12pm.

If an application cannot be made online, please contact Sorrelle Clements at Coventry Central Library on 02476 832314.

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