The Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust are delighted to announce the appointment of Britain’s new Canal Laureate: Roy McFarlane.
Poet Roy grew up in Birmingham and the Black Country, surrounded by canals. He says: “I lived, played and loved by canals and rivers and am looking forward to recapturing those stories; tales of diverse communities in urban settings who lived with canals in their backyard.”
During lockdown, Roy, like many of us, spent a lot of time outdoors. He retraced routes along his local canal towpath and developed a newfound understanding of how waterways can become sites and spaces for wellbeing and an aid to mental health.
Roy begins his role as Canal Laureate this month, following in the wake of poets Nancy Campbell (Canal Laureate 2018-9), 2021 Forward Prize-winning Luke Kennard (2016-17) and Jo Bell (inaugural Canal Laureate, 2013-15).
Roy will be both writing his own poems, and working with various groups of canal users, including boaters, to create new collaborative works. His first project will involve a canal walk on the shortest day of the year, to be followed by return visits on the Equinoxes and the longest day. Other projects with a wellbeing, nature or history focus will follow – and canal communities who would like to get involved with them should contact The Poetry Society for the latest updates.
For further information, images or to arrange interviews please contact:
Ben Rogers, Poetry Society: 020 7420 9895 • [email protected]