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Jan Watts Birmingham Poet Laureate 2011-12

The Poets' Place

Jan Watts with Roy McFarlane

After a poetry packed afternoon and evening on National Poetry Day, Birmingham Library and Archive Services announced the city's 16th Poet Laureate is Jan Watts.

The Young Poet Laureate 2011 -12 is Damani Dennisur.

Jan along with Joanna Skelt, Gary Longden and Marcia Calame, spent National Poetry Day reading and sharing their poetry to delighted audiences at various city centre venues. This day culminated in a final Birmingham Book Festival event with Roy McFarlane, Birmingham Poet Laureate 2010/2011, plus guest poet, Official Wimbledon Championship Poet 2010, Matt Harvey. All our shortlisted poets were worthy winners and the city is proud to be home to so many talented and creative people.

About Jan Watts

Jan Watts has a background in teaching Creative Writing, Drama and Performing Arts in schools, adult education and prisons. She was Writer in Residence at HMYOI Swinfen Hall. She has an MPhil in Playwriting from the University of Birmingham. Her plays have been performed in England, Scotland and New Zealand and she has a poetry collection called Empty Talk! published. As well as being tutor/mentor of Erdington Library's Creative Writing Group, Jan organised the successful Erdington Library's Writers' Retreat and is currently working on the second one for April 2012. As well as many other projects this year, Jan will be working on making Birmingham Poetry City later this year.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Jan along with Birmingham Young Poet Laureate Damani Dennisur attended an event at Birmingham Town Hall to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. The event provided an opportunity for everyone to learn the lessons from the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur to apply them in the present day to create a safer, better future. The event also shared the memory of the millions who have been murdered in the atrocities of the past in order to challenge hatred and persecution in the UK today. Jan was commissioned to write and read a piece to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Click here to read 'Mirrors'.

Jan's Plans and Video Logs

Jan has a busy year ahead of her and has planned a lot of poetry events and activity across the city. She is available for an events and commissions. For further details, please contact Nikki Bi, Reader Development Support Officer (nikki.bi@birmingham.gov.uk).

Click onto one of these links to view her latest Video Log:

Links to VLOGS - Jan Watts - Birmingham Poet Laureate 2011-2012

Vlog 12 | Vlog 11 | Vlog 10 | Vlog 9 | Vlog 8 | Vlog 7

Vlog 6 | Vlog 5 | Vlog 4 | Vlog 3 | Vlog 2 | Vlog 1


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Poems by Jan Watts

Jan Watts - Birmingham Poet Laureate

This is the poem Jan wrote on the theme of Games in her application to be the Birmingham Poet Laureate.

Games by Jan Watts

On your marks,
get set,
Round One.
Starter's pistol
javelined the discus.
Scrabble the noughts
and cross
to slide the snake and
step up to the ladders.
Tennis the love
and polo the pony.
Splash in the pool.
Monopolise the draughts
to domino the knight and
bishop the pawns.
Hockey-ed the defence to
Rugby by Soccer.
Dive and drive
Formula One around
the track to the thorough bred
archery-ed now and
boxed clever.
Marathon hurdled
and huddled on the blocks.
Ludo the Cluedo and
Snap the Poker.
Single, double, team.
You're in for the high jump,
hop skip and
cricket the willow
and out!
Breathless from effort.
And the winner is?

Games by Jan Watts

 PDF (Size: 28.1 Kb Type: pdf )

(This PDF shows the poem correctly laid out on the page)

Reduced Chiller


Birmingham by Jan Watts

 PDF (Size: 56.5 Kb Type: pdf )

About the Birmingham Poet Laureate

Book Jan Watts for a poetry event

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