Canal Laureate on Front Row

Luke Kennard

What does a Canal Laureate do? Poet Luke Kennard speaks to BBC Radio 4’s flagship arts programme Front Row tonight (10 August, 7.15pm) to give a glimpse into the life of the nation’s poet in residence of the waterways. Front Row met up with Luke in Birmingham for a poetic trip along the canal with boater Andrew Denny.

You can follow Luke Kennard’s Canal Laureate blog and read new poems at

Twitter @canalpoetry

The Canal Laureate project is a collaboration between the Canal & River Trust and The Poetry Society, to share new perspectives on Britain’s historic canals and rivers, and generate new poetry inspired by our waterways. Luke Kennard took up the post of Canal Laureate in January 2016, following on from Jo Bell who was inaugural Canal Laureate (2013-15).

“I wonder if it is a stretch to say canals and poetry
share more than history or eccentricity:
Hiding in plain sight, a relic dwarfed by commerce…”

Luke Kennard, from ‘What we can least afford to lose’

“Maybe we have washed our hands
and drunk deep and swam
and think we know her,
but water’s reputation goes before her like a flood:
she does not suffer fools or gadflies…”

Luke Kennard, from ‘The Water Replies’


Published 10 August 2016