Poet Laureate inspires residents on visit to Medway

Published: Monday, 4th April 2022

The Poet Laureate delighted residents when he visited Medway last month and launched an exciting poetry project.

Simon Armitage visited Chatham Library on Sunday, 27 March as part of his 10-year tour of libraries across the UK, using the alphabet as a compass.

He read poems with guest poet Patience Agbabi, former Canterbury Poet Laureate and writer-in-residence at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, to around 200 residents.

Armitage also launched an exciting poetry project which invites residents of all ages to submit their memories and historical stories of Chatham which will be knitted together in a patchwork poem. Residents are invited to describe the fantastic places in and around Chatham which will be weaved into the poem alongside historical figures such as William Cuffay and the stories of everyday people. Residents can submit their memories by taking them into their local library or emailing chatham.library@medway.gov.uk before Thursday, 1 September. The patchwork poem will be launched on National Poetry Day on Thursday, 6 October.

Libraries play a vital role in connecting our communities 

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “We were thrilled to welcome Simon Armitage, the Poet Laureate to Medway. We recognise the vital role that libraries play in connecting our communities which is why we are continuing to invest in our fantastic library service. Our 15 libraries and community hubs are not just places where residents can borrow books, they can take part in fun events and activities or join a local club. We also hold stories and craft sessions in our libraries during school half-terms and the summer holidays as well as our extremely popular baby bounce and rhyme and toddler shake and boogie classes. These fantastic sessions support our aspiration to become a Child-Friendly City. Medway has a great creative spirit and I’m sure Simon Armitage’s visit inspired budding local poets and I would encourage them to submit their own personal stories and memories for the Chatham patchwork poem project.”

The C to D Libraries Tour is supported by the T. S. Eliot Foundation, Mark Pigott KBE and using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. It is also supported by Armitage’s long-time publishers Faber & Faber. Copies of his latest collection, Magnetic Field: The Marsden Poems will be donated to the participating libraries along the way.

Find out more about Medway’s libraries

Find out more about the Laureate’s Library Tour

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