Southbank Centre launches New Poets Collective

Southbank Centre launches New Poets Collective

The Southbank Centre is running an annual New Poets Collective scheme, helping a group of 15 poets hone their skills and expand their knowledge.

Based at the Southbank Centre’s National Poetry Library, supported by its creative learning team and funded by the T S Eliot Foundation, poets aged 22 and over are being invited to apply.

Over the course of a year, the group will develop creatively while drawing on and contributing to the centre's activities. The collective will be able to explore and attend the complex's events and also have the chance to respond to the Southbank Centre’s archive and history.

Lead tutors and special guest poets, including Bristol’s City Poet and multi-slam winner Vanessa Kisuule and Forward Prize winner Will Harris, will lead monthly sessions for the group, designed to help the collective develop as versatile creative artists with skills and confidence across a range of genres, from page poetry to performative poetry and spoken word. 

The programme will culminate in presentations at the London Literature Festival in October 2022 and a published anthology of new work. It also includes industry insight sessions designed to provide tools for the group to build their writing careers in the years ahead. 

Ted Hodgkinson, head of literature and spoken word at the Southbank Centre, said: “Poetry has always been at the heart of the Southbank Centre, with the National Poetry Library a source of inspiration for countless poets since opening its doors in 1953. Now, thanks to the generous support of the T S Eliot Foundation, we’re able to go further by creating a rigorous and varied artistic development programme to nurture the next generation.

"Led by the virtuoso duo of Vanessa Kisuule and Will Harris, and drawing deeply on the National Poetry Library’s unique collection, as well as the Southbank Centre’s diverse artistic programme, it promises to be a transformative experience for those selected, and to make a major contribution to poetry in the UK and beyond.”

Free bursary places and travel stipends are available, and the Southbank Centre said it welcomes applications from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse poets, disabled or neuro-diverse poets, LGBTQ+ and working-class poets. Full details on how to apply can be found online

The National Poetry Library, which houses the world's largest collection of modern verse, will reopen on 28th May, shortly after the Royal Festival Hall opens on 21st May.