Attracting new voices to the world of poetry is more important than ever. The literary landscape is changing, and fresh talent is welcomed with open arms. In an effort to help encourage and support this new young talent, London has instituted the new position of young people’s poet laureate. The first to hold the title is a poet, filmmaker, and English teacher from Peckham; Caleb Femi.
As the young people’s poet laureate, Femi is tasked with creating environments in which 13 to 25 year olds can experiment with poetic expression, and be supported in their endeavors. London’s writers advocacy group, Spread the Word, heads the program with funding from the Foundation for Future London. “Caleb Femi’s work is exciting, authentic, sophisticated and accessible. Most of all, he has a genuine desire to help young people discover their own voice in poetry” said Spread the Word director Ruth Harrison of the new appointee.
Femi’s experience teaching children combined with his impressive art are set to make him an impactful presence for London’s young poets. Of his new task, Femi said,
I don’t see it as far-fetched to normalise poetry among all demographics of young people in London. Poetry is the one of the purest forms of conversation. At its best, it allows us to communicate from an honest and safe place. And young people deserve to be included in such spaces.
Below is a performance by Caleb Femi of one of his poems, Coconut Oil. Good luck to Mr. Femi in his year long tenure as laureate.
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