Calling London’s Young Poets! The Search is on for the next Young Poet Laureate for London

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Are you passionate about your poetry? Can you write about the rhythm and rhyme of the city? Do you want to develop your style, your confidence, your career?
Spread the Word, Londons WritersDevelopment Agency is delighted to announce that they are now looking for the next Young Poet Laureate for London, supported by Foundation for FutureLondon. The competition will be tough, the rewards high. The successful applicant will have great opportunities to raise the profile of poetry across the city.
The Young Poet Laureate programme offers the opportunities for the successful poet to develop their portfolio, building confidence and skills with the support of Spread The Word. Responding to London’s ever changing landscape, the role will inspire others to write and unlock their talent, becoming a role model for future poets, turning ‘I write poetry’ into ‘I am a poet.’ 
Some of London’s most talented young poets have been supported by the programme, which has helped them find new opportunities to share their work, develop meaningful relationships with businesses and organisations leading to new work, and elevated their profile, often launching their careers as creative professionals. This year the age range of the programme has been extended, and is now open to poets aged 21-30.
 
The first Young Poet Laureate was Warsan Shire, whose poem For women who are ‘difficultto love was declared one of the 50 great modern love poems of the last 50 years’ by The Guardian. Aisling Fahey, from Walthamstow is the 2014/15 Young Poet Laureate, and is currently undertaking a residency in the Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as it prepares to host the Rugby World Cup.
Aisling is full of enthusiasm for her time in the role: In my year as Young Poet Laureate, I have worked with primary school students in Walthamstow, pensioners in Camden, older women writers in the London Irish Centre, and workmen in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Along the way, I’ve even performed for the Irish President in a line-up including Carol Ann Duffy. Not many people can say they’ve worked in such a variety of settings within one year. I have loved being able to connect with such a wide variety of communities in London, helping people from all over the capital discover how best to tell their stories through poetry.
 
Ruth Harrison, Director of Spread the Word said: The Young Poet Laureate for London programme is fantastic at discovering, and showcasing some of the best emerging poetic talent coming from and giving voice to London. We’re looking forward to working with this year’s poets – seeing how they develop and the range of exciting and engaging opportunities they will be part of.”
 
Claire Gevaux, Creative Director of the Foundation for FutureLondon said: “Our role is to enable the future cultural and academic led regeneration of east London. In doing this we recognise that stories will need to be told and journeys will need to be travelled.   The Young Poet Laureate programme provides these opportunities through guidance and support for the next generation of talented artists.  After completing their stories and their journeys, they are able to confidently proclaim ‘I am a poet’. We’re proud to have been the catalyst for the incredible talent and creativity that has emerged through the programme so far.  We cant wait to see how it evolves this year.”
How to Apply
The Young Poet Laureate programme is open to poets aged between 21 – 30, living in a London borough. The advisory panel will consider all applications. An initial shortlist of 15 applicants will be invited to a workshop selection day. From this group of 15, six finalists will then be invited to take part in a week-long residential workshop. The selection panel will choose the next Young Poet Laureate for London from this final six.
Selection Panel 2015
Jacob Sam La Rose; Sally Spurring; Imtiaz Dharker,
Claire Gevaux (Creative Director, Foundation for FutureLondon); Nick Makoha and Ruth Harrison (Director of Spread the Word)
The winning Young Poet Laureate for London will be announced on Wednesday 7 October 2015, the eve of National Poetry Day.
If you think you can impress the selection panel with the power of your words, if you think you have got what it takes to write about the Capital, or if you know an unsung poet, who could represent London, please go towww.londonlaureates.co.uk
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