Caleb Femi, the Young People’s Laureate for London, is to make a return visit to Croydon Central Library next month.
Femi’s tour dates of outer London are to be announced tomorrow, Setpember 28 – which is National Poetry Day.
A film of a specially commissioned poem, entitled The Story We All Know, will also be shown for the first time tomorrow. Femi has written the poem after meeting 13- to 25-year-olds in several outer London boroughs, including Croydon, on an earlier tour.
Filmed in black and white, the poem attempts to highlight the challenges facing young people such as isolation, crime, depression and disengagement.
“The poem was inspired by the diverse young people I met in libraries, and maps out some of the issues they felt were affecting them,” Femi said. “It calls for a collaborative effort to be made by institutions, like local libraries, to work with young people to help them change the narrative which misrepresents them.”
The tours, the poem and the filming of it has been organised by Spread the Word, a writer development agency, helping London’s writers make their mark on the page, the screen and in the world.
Spread the Word is staging The Poetry Takeaway throughout October with Femi and other, established poets in five boroughs to broaden the reach of the programme. A “takeaway van” will park in different locations, including schools, youth clubs, town squares and at local libraries. Young people will be encouraged to participate in poetry activities and fresh new writing.
Poetry workshops will be held with writers including Raymond Antrobus, Laurie Bolger, Dan Simpson, Laila Sumpton and Paula Varjak.
Workshops on beatboxing with Grace Savage and tips on how to set up their own poetry events are also planned. Open mic spots will be hosted by each library, giving young people the chance to perform their poems alongside Caleb Femi.
“We are looking forward to celebrating the talent and creativity of young people in outer London in October, hearing the poems they create and perform and seeing how they take the lead in transforming their local libraries into creative hubs for other young people by running their own events,” said Ruth Harrison, a director of Spread the Word.
The Young People’s Laureate Tour runs from October 24 to 28, with the event planned for Croydon on October 27. The tour will also be visiting Mitcham Library and Bexley Central Library.
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