Canterbury Poet Laureate Lemn Sissay

City Poet Laureate to unveil his poem for Canterbury

Canterbury Poet Laureate Lemn Sissay will unveil his poem for the city at a special performance in the Cathedral next month.

Lemn, the author of several books of poetry, has used the River Stour as the inspiration for his piece.

He said: “The river is the focus of the poem, without a doubt. The river speaks. It sees everything, seen all the change, carried the stones on its back, sees people as they weep into it, catches people as they fall into it.

“It knows the story of Canterbury and it’s proud of it.”

The work was commissioned as part of his Laureateship and is presented by The Marlowe Theatre and the Wise Words literary festival.

Since becoming Poet Laureate, Lemn has made an impact on Canterbury, which he sees as a “dynamic centre for literature”. He said: “I do feel like I’ve got under the city’s skin. You have all the contemporary issues here.”

Lemn has helped organise a Christmas Day dinner for young care leavers, has written poems for several cafés, and held workshops and live performances.

He will be joined for the performance at the Cathedral by the Canterbury Cathedral Choristers and young choral voices from east Kent. The Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury, will host the evening.

Proceeds will support The Canterbury Voice, the Cathedral’s campaign for music, and the Canterbury Laureateship.

After the performance, a permanent projection of the poem on The Friars bridge next to The Marlowe Theatre will be unveiled.

Lemn Sissay: A Poem For Canterbury is at Canterbury Cathedral at 7.30pm on Saturday June, 9.

Tickets are £16.25 with a concession for the Friends of the Marlowe Theatre and are available from the Marlowe website or from the Box Office on 01227 787787.

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