Come dine with us online! Take a seat at our digital dinner table for a menu of poetry, conversation and film. Watch the event in its entirety below.

What is Digesting History?

Digesting History has been created as part of Collections in Verse, a collaboration between Poet in the City, the British Library and Sheffield Libraries using poetry events and commissions to bring British Library exhibitions to life in four cities across the UK. The work in Sheffield was inspired by the British Library’s sold-out exhibition Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War.

Inspired by the Anglo-Saxon tradition of feasting, we came together in our homes for a unique dinner time experience to share recipes, riddles and brand-new poetry from Rachel Bower, Kayo Chingonyi and Joe Kriss. Sparked by conversations with communities across Sheffield, this new body of work spans the evolution of local dialect, women’s inherited objects and what it means to be British. Using Anglo-Saxon life as a starting point, we explored the importance of community spaces to local identity through talks, discussion, and the premiere of a new film "Where Two Rivers Meet" by award-winning film-maker, Eelyn Lee that celebrates Sheffield’s communities and the outstanding efforts of Food Banks. The evening was hosted by Silé Sibanda.

Who was on the line-up?

  • An introduction by host Silé Sibanda
  • A musical performance by Rosie Hood
  • "Where Two Rivers Meet" screening of film by Eelyn Lee, narrated by Johny Pitts.
  • An insight into the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition by curator Claire Breay
  • An interview and reading by poet Joe Kriss
  • A presentation by Johanna Blakey, PhD in Linguistics at Sheffield, on social change and linguistic variation
  • An interview and reading by poet Kayo Chingonyi
  • A discussion of how Sheffield Libraries have adapted during the pandemic by Dan Marshall
  • An interview and reading by poet Rachel Bower
  • A closing performance by Rosie Hood

Explore the performer biographies here.

Medieval Hoard

We unearthed a poetic hoard of podcasts, recorded poetry, a tapestry and Eelyn Lee's beautiful film "Where Two Rivers Meet" which can be explored via the button below.

Explore the poetic hoard

Recipe Collection

As part of Digesting History, we are calling out for recipes that make up the culinary heritage of Sheffield. If you have a special recipe of your own or one that has been passed down to you please share it with us for your chance to be included in a community recipe booklet! Send your recipes and the stories that go with them to [email protected].
Tickets & Details

The 300 first bookers received recipe and poetry packs. Click below to download a digital pack, courtesy of The Bare Project.

Download a digital recipe & poetry pack


The event was free to attend, but raised over £2,000 for Open Kitchen Social Club, a community programme that provides food and support for destitute asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and those in need.

Open Kitchen image © Smart Banda


In preparing this project, we have, as is common, called this period of history Anglo Saxon. However, on the point of presentation we have become aware of a conversation that challenges that terminology as racist and prefers Early Medieval. We used the term Anglo Saxon in good faith and welcome further conversations and discussions for future projects. The continual need to re-examine history and language is at the core of Poet in the City's collaborations.

Booking for this event has now closed.