Stamford Arts Centre is proud to announce the winner of the 2018/19 Stamford Arts Centre Poet Laureate is Chris Martin! We asked him a few questions to find out more about him...
Congratulations for winning this year's Poet Laureate Competition! What does this accolade mean to you?
It means a great deal. It's partly a validation of the work over the last couple of years in developing my writing and performance, and of how the local poetry environment has helped with that. But it's also a tremendous encouragement to put myself forward more as an advocate for poetry in the local area, rather than just an (admittedly loud) participant. That's a platform which I think can be used to great effect, and I hope I manage to do that.
How do you feel about winning such a prestigious event?
Delighted. The standard on the night was incredibly high, and the fact we had people travelling in from a range of locations shows the growing public awareness of Stamford as a place where poetry thrives. The fact the judges had to introduce a 'runner up' recognition this year shows us how close it was.
What do you hope to do as Poet Laureate? Do you have any Poet Laureate-type dreams to fulfill?
Stamford has created a superb home for poetry, with a natural progression for artists from the Stanza writing group, to open mic in the cellar bar, to featured sets at Poetry Swaps, to supporting touring artists and eventually developing their own shows. Poetry has a home here. But I'm interested in seeing those artists leave that home more and share their work and enthusiasm with the rest of the town. Events like the readings in Walkers Book shop and the 'Drunk Poetry' at the Jolly Brewer show us that the people of Stamford actually quite like poetry when they get a chance to hear it, and so I'd like to build on the footprint this year's Verse festival is creating and continue to see poetry emerge in new and unexpected places.
Thanks Chris, we look forward to working with you to help raise the profile of poetry in and around Stamford and to help produce a town of poets!
VERSE 2018 A GREAT SUCCESS FOR THE TOWN
Karen Burrows, Stamford Arts Centre's Event Administrator and Verse 2018 organiser said, “The Festival was a huge success. We've had lots of great feedback and we can't wait to get started on Verse 2020! I would like to personally thank everyone who worked so hard to make it happen and for the audiences for being so engaged with the acts. Our Junior Poetry Competition was also a huge success-we received hundreds of entries from local children on the theme What Makes Me Happy. Look out for the winners being published in a book soon!"
We would also like to the thank all the people who helped make our Fourth Festival of Poetry and Spoken Word, Verse 2018 a great success. There were plenty of sell-out shows and the town buzzed to the sound of poets, poetry, haikus and rhyming couplets everywhere. We are so proud of all the poets who supported the main acts, especially the young poets who took to the stage for the first time. Finally, the festival couldn't have been such a success without the support and funding from South Kesteven District Council.
Graham Burley, Stamford Arts Centre Manager, said, “Verse 2018 was the biggest and best poetry festival yet-we've put Stamford on the map once again having brought such big names as Roger McGough and Lemn Sissay to perform! We're all looking forward to the next festival in two years, but, until then, we've even more poetry taking place in the Arts Centre so everyone should take a look at our website or Live Events brochure to see what exciting events are happening next."