VIDEO: Darren Rawnsley is chosen as Stamford’s first ever poet laureate

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STAMFORD’S first ever poet laureate has been chosen.

Darren Rawnsley, 51, of Elton Close, Stamford, beat competition from five other wordsmiths to be crowned Stamford’s poet laureate for 2012.

Photo:SM010412-027ow'Presentation of the winner of the Stamford poet laureate competition at Stamford Arts Centre. From left, Stamford Mayor John Binder, winner Darren Rawnsley and Lincolnshire poet laureate Joel Stickley.

Photo:SM010412-027ow'Presentation of the winner of the Stamford poet laureate competition at Stamford Arts Centre. From left, Stamford Mayor John Binder, winner Darren Rawnsley and Lincolnshire poet laureate Joel Stickley.

Darren was announced as the winner yesterday (Sunday) after taking part in a live reading at Stamford Arts Centre on Friday.

He will now take on a variety of responsibilities through the year and make appearances at civic events.

Darren, who works as a teacher at Wild’s Lodge School in Empingham, said: “I can’t quite believe it. I didn’t expect to win.

“I have never really performed my poetry before but I really enjoyed it.”

Darren was encouraged to enter the competition by a friend. He has been writing for a number of years but previously kept his work to himself.

His winning poem The Runner, based on the theme of dreams, was about a runner in a dream.

Darren is already actively involved in Stamford life. He directs the Ink Contemporary Youth Theatre and recently formed the Stamford Community Youth Team to get young people more involved in their town.

Events administrator at the arts centre, Karen Burrows, said: “Darren faced stiff competition, all the finalists did really well but he came out on top.”

The poet laureate competition was launched to coincide with Verse 2012, a poetry festival run by the arts centre, which took place this weekend.

The Runner by Darren Rawnsley

The darkness is gone, now the sun burns my eyes

As I trudge through the desert with another disguise,

I hear him behind me on a steed of light grey

Whose muscles compound whilst heading my way.

Faster and faster my blood flies around

Through the open blue rivers down chambers

That sound, like double bass drums pounding my ears,

Glimpses of sweat washed over with tears.

I rip up my body for freedom and speed

His hooves and his rider, those arrogant thieves

Who steel my possessions my will and my life,

They give me back nothing but sharpen the knife.

Now I am naked way over the dune

The walls are enclosing there isn’t much room

To manoeuvre and run, I just slip in the mud

The walls of my trench collapse as they should

While the torrent descends making heavy my steps,

He is standing beside me, above me behind me

I am not quite lost yet

The river runs slower his hold is unkind

But there lies a softness somewhere deep behind

His rusty old armour his nicotine scent,

I turn and squeeze through a narrow dark vent,

No light at the end no help to be seen

I fall off the curb and awake from the dream

Once again it is real, a punch then the scream!