Word Up! Festival – Poet Laureate Celebration Event
Location:MARCH TOWN HALL, TOWN HALL, MARCH, CAMBRIDGESHIRE, PE15 9JF
Dates/s: 14 APRIL
For: EVERYONE WELCOME
Join poet laureates past and present for an evening of spoken word at March Town Hall on Saturday 14 April. Featuring poet laureates from Fenland including Kate Arthur, Clare Currie, Elaine Ewart, and Poppy Kleiser. We are also delighted to be joined by Keeley Mills a poet who travels the country sharing her wordsmith skills, and the first ever poet laureate for Peterborough Toby Wood.
When: Saturday 14 April 7pm (for 7.30pm)
Where: March Town Hall
Tickets £5 on the door, drinks and nibbles are included.
Kate Caoimhe Arthur was born in 1979 in Northern Ireland, and now lives in Cambridgeshire. She is the current Fenland Poet Laureate. She was selected for the Best New British and Irish Poets anthology, published by Eyewear in 2018.
Poppy Kleiser’s poetry is influenced by folk music and the radicalism of 18th century Romantic literature, using both written and spoken word to explore the strange and haunting nature of the fens. She has performed widely; from festivals to exhibitions and shows about land rights history. Amongst the many readings and commissions Poppy undertook during her time as Fenland Poet Laureate, she also produced an anthology of work from poets across the UK, Poems for Peace, which was launched in Wisbech with special guest Benjamin Zephaniah, who also provided a foreword for the book.
Keely is a poet, writer, producer and placemaker. She was Peterborough Poet Laureate in 2009 and has performed at Edinburgh Festival, the Houses of Parliament, Grow Heathrow, Village Green and whilst laureate she opened the John Clare Cottage with Benjamin Zephaniah. She has produced Speakeasy with Mark Grist in conjunction with Norwich Writers Centre and she is currently a team captain for Write Club in Peterborough. She has partnerships with Three Acres and a Cow which is about land rights in the UK and the other is Traveller’s Tales which is hi-lighting stories and issues faced by Gypsies, traveller’s and Romany’s.
She comes from a small village and she thrives in residencies where she can create a village in places where they don’t normally exist. During the Green Festival in 2013 she was poet in residence for all bus routes in Peterborough and that work was played in the city market, staff canteens and the major flyover in the city. She is also Poet in Resident for Peterborough Lido, where her work was played under the water and people could swim into the poems. In 2017 and’ as part of Planet B she and Charley Genever created a piece of work called Pickers, Pluckers and Packers which celebrated and explored the contribution of women and EU migrants to our food production, people experienced the work during a set of tours. She is currently completing a mixed media residency in Epping Forest which has resulted in a exhibition and workshops.
Clare is Poet Laureate for the city of Peterborough. She has worked on a range of theatre projects including pieces for Eastern Angles Theatre Company and Jumped Up Theatre, in collaboration with Battersea Arts. A regular contributor to the spoken word/poetry scene, Clare works with schools and is delivering projects to adults with learning difficulties and users of the Change, Grow, Live service – people making positive changes to beat addiction. Clare has written pieces for the Holocaust Memorial Day and the Dream Catcher Project with Platform 8 and the One-To-One Development Trust. She has performed alongside poets such as Mark Grist, Leanne Moden, Keely Mills and Charley Genever Her poetry is described as image-packed and lyrical, she is currently writing a new work for theatre exploring the visceral nature of embodiment as a female, a sports woman and a mother.
Toby writes and performs poems for both adults and children and was Peterborough’s inaugural poet laureate in 1998. He describes both poems and pieces of writing as ‘being like cheese and onion crisps – quirkily pleasant for the moment but unlikely to be a satisfying, sustainable diet’. Toby spent his life in education, as a child, student, teacher, headteacher and advisor. Much of his work is about living and working in Peterborough, growing up and growing old in Peterborough as well as taking a sideways look at Peterborough.
Elaine Ewart was the inaugural Fenland Poet Laureate back in 2012. Since then, she has won second prize in the New Welsh Writing awards, been shortlisted for the Resurgence Ecopoetry Prize, run workshops, and had poems published in various journals and anthologies. She co-hosts local spoken word night, Fen Speak, in Ely, and is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Essex.
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WORD UP! FESTIVAL
Between 12 and 22 of April the Word Up! Festival will be taking over the town of March! Join in to get creative with storytelling in all it’s forms. Enjoy film, music, visual arts, performance, poetry, and creative writing and have a go yourself with our interactive events. Bring your family and friends to try your hand at a range of activities. The Word Up! Festival finale will be taking place on the Market Place at St George’s Fayre. Find out more about the Word Up! Festival here.