Leeds Poetry Centre Funding/Laureate’s National Park Project – Poetry News Roundup March 11th

This week on My Poetic Side we look at the funding boost for the National Poetry Centre and the US Poet Laureate’s National Parks project.

£5m Funding Boost for Leeds National Poetry Centre

Plans for the first national poetry headquarters in West Yorkshire are well underway, following a boost in funds of £5m from the government. This is the first such headquarters in the UK .

Simon Armitage, the Poet Laureate, created the plan for the National Poetry Centre, which is being created in Leeds at the Trinity St David’s site. The idea is that the centre will create a place where individuals from all backgrounds and cultures will be able to learn more about poetry and share their own poems. The announcement regarding the funding was made in the recent budget.

Speaking about the announcement, Armitage said
He went on to talk about the significant impact that this award which has come from the Department of Levelling Up will make to the plans and how excited he is to see the next stage of development take place.

Armitage, who is from Huddersfield, is currently a Professor of Poetry based at the University of Leeds, so the location of the centre holds special significance to him.

It is hoped that the centre will be ready to be opened by the end of 2027. It is being based in the currently disused Trinity St David’s building which is on Woodhouse Lane. The site used to be a nightclub.

Four years in the works the project is supported by The National Poetry Centre’s Partners, the University of Leeds, Arts Council England, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Council. They are delighted at the recognition that the poetry heritage of the country, who have over thousands of years produced some of the most distinguished poets in the world.

National Parks Poetry Project

The 24th US Poet Laureate, Ada Limon will be visiting seven national parks as part of a special event titled “You Are Here: Poetry in Parks”. The poetry initiative will see a number of site-specific installations relating to poetry being put into each of the seven parks to transform picnic tables. Each table will feature an American poem that has a connection to the park and will create a public work of art. Whilst Limon is at each of the parks unveiling the public poetry she will also be engaging with local tribes or community groups and young people who live in the area.

The visits will start with Cape Cod National Seashore Park on 14th June and end with Saguaro National Park which is in Arizona on 3rd December. A number of local poets are responsible for the poems who will be used at each of the locations.

The project is a collaboration between the Poetry Society of America and the Library of Congress. They are hoping that the public will write their own poems in response to the prompt “You Are Here” and hopefully share them on social media under the hashtag #YouAreHerePoetry

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