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Staffordshire celebrates 10 years of poet laureate

Lovers of poetry in Staffordshire are being invited to join in celebrations to commemorate 10 years of the Staffordshire Poet Laureate.

A special evening of poetry will be held at Stafford Library on National Poetry Day on 5 October. Hosting the event is the current Staffordshire Poet Laureate, Dawn Jutton, who will be reading poems alongside previous laureates and looking back at their achievements over the years.

Dawn will also be announcing the new Young Poet Laureate on the night and paying tribute to the county’s very first laureate, Mal Dewhirst, who sadly passed away in 2021.

Mal was appointed to the role in 2013, along with the first Young Poet Laureate, Natalie Cotterill. Since then, six poets have been appointed to the role, who have in turn, supported and mentored a further eight young people.

A rich and varied collection of poetic work has been developed over this time, including poetry, imagery and film, inspired by the diverse nature of the county’s landscape, heritage, people and places.

Poets have explored and celebrated many themes including the Staffordshire Hoard, Staffordshire Day, Staffordshire’s Great War, fostering and health & wellbeing campaigns and more recently Green Libraries Month. In 2016, Bert Flitcroft created the first ever Staffordshire Poetry Collection, consisting of 50 poems written by people across the county, which offers a unique picture of Staffordshire in words.

Dawn Jutton said: “We are very much looking forward to the event, announcing the new Staffordshire Young Poet Laureate and welcoming back Poets Laureate past & present to perform their poems.

“I’m honoured to be in the company of such excellent poets who have each contributed something new to developing the role, which is now held in such esteem by many groups and organisations across the county. The role opens up great opportunities to share poetry with other poets and new writers alike. To have so many of us share the same room for this event will be very special.”

Libraries Chief at Staffordshire County Council, Victoria Wilson said: “This is a wonderful celebration of all our poets laureate and I’m still amazed at the wealth and breadth of what each of them have achieved over the last 10 years. The initiative has helped create and promote a real love of poetry across the county. Over the years, many people have taken part in a diverse range of activities, at schools, in the community, at festivals, exhibitions and online.

“Bringing about this appreciation and enjoyment of poetry and creative writing to wider audiences is something for the county to be proud of and we are really look forward seeing what the next 10 years brings!”


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