Grenfell and the A14 – Poetry News Round-up September 12th

Today’s new round up brings you to articles, the first about a priest who has written a poem inspired by the Grenfell Tower fire and the emotions that followed, and the second the unusual story of the poet of the A14.

The poetry of the Grenfell Tower priest

In the days that followed the terrible fire that raged through the Grenfell Tower block in North Kensington the St Clement church, which is located close to the base of the tower became a focal point for the survivors. Father Alan Everett, the vicar of the church spent a lot of time with the survivors in those early days and has turned to poetry as an outlet for all the emotions that he witnessed and lived through as a result.

He has written an eight-part poem which he says was a profoundly emotional experience. Through the poetry, he was instilled with the powerful emotions that come with reliving some of the events that unfurled, both things that he experienced directly and those emotions he experienced indirectly through helping others. In many ways writing the poem was cathartic, three months have passed since the fire, many are still homeless and survivors are struggling to express their experiences.

His poem is titled simply “14 June 2017” It recounts the event that happened on the night of the fire and in the days, that followed

Everett, who is 59, began writing poetry whilst at university but gave it up claiming what he wrote was complete rubbish. He began writing again 10 years ago. On the night of the fire, he and another priest were woken in the early hours to the news, by 3 am they had thrown open the doors of the church and were taking in survivors. He hopes that his poem will help some of the victim’s process at least a part of what they went through.

The A14 Poet

That’s right – the A14, a road that is 127 miles from Felixstowe Port in Suffolk, UK to  Catthorpe, an Interchange located where the M1 and M6 motorways interchange has its own poet laureate.

Daisy Johnson, who is a librarian, children’s writer and blogger from York began her new role as the A14 poet on September 6th. She is collecting stories from members of the public – commuters, lorry drivers and construction workers about the road. The aim of her role, which was created by the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) is to encourage anyone who has been affected by the Cambridge to Huntingdon road improvements to reflect on the nature of travel

She will be running a number of competitions and providing regular prompts via social media to encourage people to contribute. Before the end of her time as the poet in residence, Daisy will use the collected stories and anecdotes to produce poetry which will be presented in an anthology.

Have you driven on the A14 or any other road that has inspired you? Was your journey eventful enough to draw you to put pen to paper and produce a poem?

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