In Discover

Ahead of the National Poetry Day on 28 September, we take a look at some of the top poets in Greater Manchester.

1. Tony Walsh

Tony Walsh, known under the stage-name as Longfella, is one of the UK’s most renowned and respected performance poets. Delivering performances in schools, universities, prisons, and theatres, Walsh has taken to the big-stage at Glastonbury, the Palace of Science and Culture in Warsaw, and more recently delivering the inspirational This is the Place at the Manchester vigil.

2. John Cooper Clarke

John Cooper Clarke is a performance poet born in Salford, originally rising to fame in the punk rock era of the late 1970s as the original ‘people’s poet’. Spanning cultures, audiences, and continents, John Cooper Clarke is as relevant as ever, influencing well-known bands such as The Clash and Arctic Monkeys. He has recorded numerous albums, compilations, and collaborations, and still regularly tours his material, as well as appearing on TV.

3. ARGH KiD

David Scott AKA Argh KiD is a rising Manchester-based street poet, delivering poems with Northern wit and a colloquial twang. 2017 has been a big year so far for Argh KiD, being named poet laureate for Kendal Calling, UEFA’s official poet with his poem 99 memories being used in the build-up to the Europa League final, and being involved in the Mayfield development promotion.

4. Mike Garry

Mike Garry, a former librarian for 15 years, is a poet passionate for bringing live poetry to places it would not normally reach. Performing in prisons, young offenders units, mental health hospitals, Children’s Homes, and local pubs, Garry was also hand-picked to tour with John Cooper Clarke in 2010. Mike’s poem Saint Anthony has received fantastic acclaim as a tribute to inspirational Anthony H Wilson.

5. J B Barrington

J.B. Barrington is a performance poet from Salford, well known for portraying life through the eyes of the working class. In 2014, he won the Best Spoken Word Award at the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, and is an Amnesty International slam winner. J.B. Barrington is also the author of Woodchip Anaglypta & Nicotined Artex Ceilings.

6. Dame Carol Ann Duffy DBE

Dame Carol Ann Duffy is a Scottish poet and playwright, and is currently the Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University. In 2009, Duffy was appointed Britain’s Poet Laureate, the first woman, Scot, and openly LGBTQ person to hold the position. Rising to prominence after her poem Whoever She Was won the Poetry Society National Poetry Competition, Duffy’s poetry has now been widely studied in schools across the country.

7. Jackie Kay MBE

Jackie Kay is a Scottish poet and novelist, and is currently the Chancellor of The University of Salford. In 1991, Kay’s first book of poetry The Adoption Papers deals with such issues as identity, race, nationality, gender, and sexuality, and won the Saltire Society Scottish First Book Award. As well as Chancellor, Kay is also the Writer in Residence at the University of Salford, contributing major commissions to enhance learning and teaching, and in March 2016 was announced to be taking up the position of Scots Maker, the national poet of Scotland.

8. Lemn Sissay MBE

Lemn Sissay MBE is a British poet and broadcaster born in Wigan, Manchester. Releasing his first poetry book at the age of 21, Sissay now has a number of publications and plays, and is a regular contributor to BBC shows Saturday Live and Book Panel. In June 2015, Sissay was elected as Chancellor at the University of Manchester for a seven-year term.

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