Competition is on to find Stamford’s first ever poet laureate

THE competition to find Stamford’s first ever poet laureate is now open.

The role has been created to tie in with Verse 2012, a new poetry festival organised by the Stamford Arts Centre. Entrants must submit an original poem on the theme of dreams.

Mayor of Stamford Coun John Binder will sit on the competition’s judging panel.

He said: “Poet laureateships are a familiar occurrence in towns and cities across the UK and I am delighted to be on the judging panel to find Stamford a poet laureate.

“I think the position will add another layer to the rich tapestry of talent in Stamford and indeed will inspire and encourage poets and writers in the community.”

Coun Binder will be joined on the judging panel by Lincolnshire poet laureate Joel Stickley and directors of poet agency Book A Poet, Lynsey Evans and Kate Tarrant.

The contest is open to wordsmiths aged 18 or over living in the PE9 postcode area.

The new role will be unpaid and will last for two years.

The winner will be tasked with promoting and raising the profile of poetry within the community.

The new laureate will work closely with Stamford Arts Centre and host poetry clinics, write a monthly poem on a specific theme, attend local events and raise the profile of poetry in local and national media.

They must be available for interviews with newspapers, magazines, radio and television when necessary.

Stamford’s poet laureate will be in place in time for the new festival, which will run from March 28 to April 2.

Speakers will include Ian McMillan, John Hegley and Peterborough duo The Dead Poets.

Stamford poet Camilla McLean will host a cupcake decorating poetry session for youngsters, called The Tale of Candy Kate the Psycho Baker, and there will be a number of open surgery sessions with professional poets.

Schools from Stamford and the surrounding area have been invited to take part in workshops held in the Arts Centre.

Entries for the laureate competition are now being taken. To take part visit www.stamfordartscentre.com/verse2012.