Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park launches search for a Young Poet Laureate

10 June 2013

Spoke is a new visionary poetry and spoken word programme that will offer people in East London an opportunity to watch, perform and develop careers in spoken word.

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(Image credit: 'Shake the Dust' photographs by Polly Harvey for Apples and Snakes)

The programme will also allow people to performance poetry in and around the newly evolved Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the former site of the Olympic Park.

Commissioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation, the programme is being developed by A New Direction together with Apples and Snakes, and Spread the Word.

This innovative programme consists of three strands of activity:

1. Young Poet Laureate – a major life-changing opportunity for one talented young person to become London's first Young Poet Laureate, inspired by Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and east London. Young people aged 18-25 from across London are invited to apply to become one of six young poets who will work with Spread the Word over this summer on an intensive programme that will result in the first Young Poet Laureate for London being announced in October 2013. Following in the footsteps of this ancient tradition, the Young Poet Laureate will be the voice of young Londoners, writing poems which reflect on our ever changing capital. Applications for the Young Poet Laureate for London opened on Friday 24th May 2013, for details on how to apply and eligibility criteria go to www.spreadtheword.org.uk

2. East Slam – a dynamic and surprising programme of free spoken word poetry performances for a range of audiences throughout public space in East London. Watch out for poets in shopping centres, parks, local libraries, childrens centres as well as arts venues.

3. Poetry Pathways – an in depth education programme taking place in six schools (in the first year) throughout Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest. Experienced spoken word artists will partner with each school, developing mentoring and training opportunities for young people and their teachers. Also workshops for local poets and training for professional writers.

This project is one of the first to launch the Legacy Corporation's ambitions for arts and culture in the Park and surrounding areas.

As part of the Corporation's long term Arts & Culture strategy, we are commissioning and developing a number of projects which show how arts and culture can enliven our public spaces and connect and work with local communities. It is our vision for east London to be a thriving cultural district, and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park to be a key part of that story.

About the organisations

A New Direction
We connect children, young people and education with the best of arts and culture in London. We believe that together we can make London the best city in the world for young people's cultural and creative development.

Apples and Snakes
Apples and Snakes is the leading organisation for performance poetry in England, with a national reputation for producing exciting and innovative participation and performance work in spoken word.

Spread The Word
Spread the Word is London's writer development agency. We curate a programme of affordable workshops, masterclasses, and engagement projects. Through this range of activities, we nurture long-term relationships with writers to bring talented new voices into the literature economy. Spread the Word supports London-based writers of all forms and is funded through Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation.

London Legacy Development Corporation
The Legacy Corporation is the not for profit organisation responsible for the management of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the regeneration of the surrounding areas. It is committed to creating world class arts and culture for all to enjoy.