Kayo Chingonyi is an incredible poet and former Sheffield resident, whose work spans coming of age, grime, roots and origins of language, and identity in all of its forms. His debut collection was Kumukanda, and he’s an educator, prize-winner, emcee, DJ, and regularly collaborates across art forms to find new sounds for his work. It is this approach which has informed his astounding new commissions in Sheffield, which investigate local dialect with the people of Firth Park and its historic connections. 

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.

Commissioned by Poet in the City and British Library for Collections in Verse 2021 ©

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.