Poet Laureate and Professor of Poetry, Simon Armitage, has taken part in a special open mic session for staff and students.
Poetry in Abundance is part of the Campus Live programme which is taking place throughout the autumn term.
The open mic event was an opportunity for people of all levels of experience to share poetry in all of its forms in a supportive environment.
After introducing the event, the Professor of Poetry spoke about the ways in which the genre has changed since he first started writing in Huddersfield.
Professor Armitage then read an unpublished poem composed only of business jargon, entitled ‘Let's Bird Table’.
A total of sixteen poets - a combination of undergraduate and postgraduate students and staff - read at the event.
For some, it was their first time reading their poems in public.
As Professor Simon Armitage reminded us in his opening words of encouragement, poetry is our greatest and most democratic art form.
Professor Frank Finlay, Dean of Cultural Engagement and Director of the Cultural Institute said: “It was such a thrill for all our students who had braved the elements to be greeted by none other than the Poet Laureate at last Friday’s open mic poetry event.
“As Professor Simon Armitage reminded us in his opening words of encouragement, poetry is our greatest and most democratic art form. His own reading of a poem lampooning management jargon, followed by those of a very diverse group of students certainly captivated a large audience.
“I am most grateful to Simon for giving so generously of his time to support this entertaining and enjoyable Campus Live event and to the students who shared their creative work with us."
The Campus Live programme celebrates the arts through a variety of exciting activities including music, installations, dance, theatre, sport, crafts and games. The events are open to students, staff and the general public throughout the autumn term.
100 years of the BBC
Simon’s attendance at the event comes days after the Professor of Poetry at the School of English published a poem to celebrate 100 years of the BBC.
The poem, Transmission Report, examines the BBC from a ‘unique perspective’.
Scottish-Caribbean poet and performer Courtney Stoddart was also commissioned to write ‘The Invitation’, which will look towards the next 100 years of public service broadcasting.
Both poems explore the relationship between the broadcaster and the nation.
They feature as part of the BBC’s special week of centenary programming, which is running from 22 to 29 October 2022.
Transmission Report by Simon Armitage
It’s the year two thousand and twenty two
on planet Earth, apparently, and I’m careering
through time and space, careening
between galaxies, scanning the frequencies.
The weather is mostly cosmic drizzle,
and the media mostly celestial drivel,
but for a century now I’ve picked up a station
called ‘the BBC’. And despite occasional
in my brain cells, tear ducts and funny bones.
As a bonus,
it annoys the hell out of tyrants and moguls.
But what is it, this BBC, this corporation
with nothing to flog, this soul of the nation?
If there’s some world order it’s trying to favour
then it’s a complete failure:
just recently I learnt all there is to know
about the sex life
of the natterjack toad,
then witnessed war,
then considered the meaning of meaning of life,
then deep-dived beneath Antarctic ice.
Then watched a pride of lionesses
make a football stadium’s grassy plain
its natural terrain.
Above gridlocked airwaves
and channels jammed with cross-talk and static
I set my clock and steer
by a signal that pulses keen and measured and
Watch Transmission Report performed by Simon and a host of BBC personalities.
You can find out more about Campus Live on the Campus Live website.
For more information, please contact the Press Office at the University of Leeds by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.