The last few years have seen a huge increase in the number of regular poetry events in the Black Country, but with the introduction of lockdown in response to Covid-19 all of them are now cancelled for the foreseeable future. We wanted to do something to address that, and we’re delighted to announce that we’ve been commissioned by Creative Black Country to run a series of online poetry activities across our region.
‘Stay Up Your Own End’ will be a series of six online events, each providing a platform for poets of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to share their work. They’ll be held on Monday evenings on our Facebook page, and for each one we’ll be encouraging people to write about some aspect of life in their part of the Black Country.
We’re starting with an event focussed on Walsall, and following on with evenings centred on Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Stourbridge, before culminating in a grand finale on 20th July. At each event a ‘judge’s favourite’ will be chosen and will secure a £25 prize for the author, plus the opportunity to work with us on creating a video of their piece for our sixth and final event, which will feature the five winning poems as well as videos from each of our five judges.
The poetry prompt for Walsall went live on Monday 25th May and was created for us by local poet Richard Archer. Over the next five weeks other established regional poets will provide prompts for their part of the Black Country, and we’re grateful to Rick Sanders, Roy McFarlane, Kuli Kohli, and Heather Wastie for working with us on the events for Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, and Stourbridge respectively.
Anyone can submit a poem to these events. First-time writers, regular scribblers, and all those in between. Whether you’re a keen poet or just fancy dipping your toes in the poetry water, this is for you. And – of course – everyone’s welcome to take part in the events, either as contributors or audience. They’ll all be hosted on our Facebook page, which you will find here.
Richard’s prompt for the Walsall event is below. If you want to take part, email your finished poem to us at firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on Sunday June 7th for the chance to win a £25 prize. Our thanks to those people who’ve already sent their poems in – the rest of you, get yer skates on!
“Impressions about a place can be formed from any contact, long or short. What is your take on Walsall? Good or bad? How has living in, discovering, or visiting Walsall had an impact on your outlook? What impression has Walsall made on you during these times of lockdown and isolation?
What is your impression of our borough?”