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Roy McFarlane - Birmingham's Poet Laureate 2010/2011

New !August 2011 Roy has written a poem inspired by the riots and death of three young men in Birmingham - Saving our sons

Birmingham Library and Archive Services celebrated National Poetry Day 2010 by announcing that the city's new Poet Laureate was Roy McFarlane. Roy took over from Adrian Johnson as Poet Laureate 2010/2011.

He worked closely with the Young Poet Laureate Jordan Wescarr.

Poems by Roy McFarlane
The struggle of normality
Michelle Obama in Harlem
I found my father's love letters
Where you from?

Poem for Holocaust Memorial Day 2011

Roy McFarlane was born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage and spent most of his former years living in Wolverhampton. As Resident Poet at Starbucks, a solo performer and a member of the New October Poets he’s performed in numerous venues, sharing the stage with poets such as Roi Kwabena, Fred D’Aguiar and Talking Brothers. A regular with City Voices and Writers without Borders. His play For the Love of Auset premiered at The Drum, Aston, in June 2007. His short story Conversation with an Ant has also been published in Original Skin and he studied for an MA in Writing at the National Academy of Writing, BCU. As the Poet Laureate, Roy aimed to make poetry fun and accessible to Birmingham’s diverse people, celebrating the vibrancy of performance poetry as well as encouraging the beauty of poetry on the page.

Adrian Johnson and Roy McFarlane

Roy is no stranger to the city and has been writing and performing poetry in the West Midlands for several years. He said the role of Poet Laureate is an exciting opportunity for any poet and Carole Anne Duffy in accepting her Laureateship said "she hopes to contribute to people's understanding of what poetry can do and where it can be found".

Roy has performed and read in libraries, pubs, cafes, theatres, conferences, art galleries and many other poetry events and venues. Roy is currently involved in a number of poetry projects, one of them being a poetry anthology called 10 Birmingham Poets.

National Poetry Day

National Poetry Day with Birmingham’s New Poet Laureate Roy McFarlane and Guest Poet Pascale Petit

Roy gave his first inaugural reading as Birmingham Poet Laureate 2010/2011 at a special Birmingham Book Festival event at the Library Theatre

It is a longstanding tradition for the new Laureate to be announced on National Poetry Day and then to perform at the Festival in their first official capacity. Adrian Johnson (Birmingham Poet Laureate 2009/2010) read a selection of poems from his year as Poet Laureate and shared reflections from his tenure. Guest Poet Pascale Petit read from her latest collections What the Water Gave Me – Poems after Frida Kahlo (Seren, 2010) and The Treekeeper’s Tale (Seren, 2008).

National Poetry Day

The theme for this year's National Poetry Day was 'Home'. What does 'Home' mean to you?

Roy McFarlane and the 5 shortlisted candidates have all explored this theme. You can read their poems below:

Where are you from? - by Roy McFarlane

Home - by Alan (Kurly) McGeachie

Moving Away - by Penny Hewlett

Waiting for the German Market - by Jacqui Rowe

Freya and the Ba'tn'bah - by Gregory Leadbetter

Dear Sirs - by Rosie Miles