A Year In Review

As we head to the time of year where the nights are longest and darkest, we’re looking back at the bright spots from Poet in the City’s 2023. Events, projects and programmes: it’s been a busy year for poets and audiences with some wonderful new work created and friendships forged.

Newcastle Young Producers - a group of eight smiling young people in front of a brick wall with their group facilitator

Our Young Producers animated poetry’s nightlife from north to south. In Exeter, they presented Honey I’m Home! – an interactive poetry takeover of Exeter Library featuring soulful sonnets, beautiful ballads and lusty limericks via installations and spoken word show-stoppers. In Newcastle (the photo above is of our Newcastle Young Producers), West Start / West Middle / West End celebrated the West End of Newcastle in a community-built performance full of poetry and feasting.

Staying in Newcastle, our Exchange project creates high-impact community engagement with poetry at its heart, championing the power of the collective voice. Working with the City Library, we began a project looking at women’s safety, and hosted a celebratory event featuring open mic-ers, new commissions and community-created artwork. Look out for the second event coming in March.

Run the Night was a four week summer gathering of indoor and outdoor events bringing together locals and visitors in the heart of Woolwich, south London. Talks, gigs and discussions combined with workshops for young people to explore the skills they need to produce their own poetry and cultural events. A really great project commission from the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Poet Dzifa Benson performs her newly commissioned poem at the Poets in Vogue event at the House of St Barnabas

2023’s live events saw us exploring the poetic legacy of Joni Mitchell with Amy Key, Sorana Santos and Vanessa Kisuule at Kings Place; diving into the life and work of Jean-Michel Basquiat with Nick Makoha and Charlie Dark at Koko; partnering with the Matilda Alves Foundation on Sounds and Stories of the Windrush with Karen McCarthy-Woolf, Jeremiah Brown and DJ Gladdy Wax at Peckham Levels, and hosting the closing celebration of the National Poetry Library’s Poets in Vogue exhibition with a glamorous bill of new commissions, performances and reflections at House of St Barnabas.

Head over to Watch, Listen, Read to catch up on this year’s brand new commissioned poems from Mona Arshi, Dzifa Benson (that's Dzifa above, reading at the Poets in Vogue event), Jasmine Cooray, Fiona Curran, Remi Graves, Sky Hawkins, Lizzie Lovejoy and Kirsten Luckins.

Thank you to all the poets, artists, communities, friends and funders who have supported Poet in the City this year – we could not have done it without you!

We’re looking forward to 2024 and the new projects that are on the blocks: there’s a new Young Producers programme coming, a collaboration with the students of Central St Martins and a couple of exciting partnership developments. Keep in touch via our newsletter and socials, and we look forward to telling you all about them. From everyone at Poet in the City: have a happy Christmas, and all best wishes for a peaceful new year!