Thistle Young Poets

You might already know about our Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, our SLAMbassadors spoken word championship and our Young Poets Network. Beginner writers always have access to The Poetry Society’s advice and community as they develop their craft.

However, once you’ve gone through a young poet education scheme, the tricky next step between ‘young’ and ‘emerging’ poet is one that can be hard to navigate. Thanks to The Thistle Trust, we were able to offer a group of writers at this very stage some guidelines.

In 2017, The Thistle Trust generously funded us to run a series of professional development activities for young poets. Throughout 2018 and into the beginning of 2019, we brought together a group of young poets just at the beginning of their writing careers, to offer them a bespoke programme of training opportunities, culminating in a sharing of their work. Our aim was to foster the creativity of participants by offering them a supportive, structured environment in which to pursue new poetic ideas and experiments.

Our group came from Essex, Haywards Heath, Kent, Lewes, London, Norwich, Oxford and Sheffield. Their names are Aislinn Evans, Alannah Young, Daniel Grimston, Francesca Weekes, Maeve Slattery, Maria Calinescu, Mubeenah Waheed, Na’Imah Laurent-Dixon, Natalie Steinhouse, Phoebe Thomson, Sabina Awuni and Sharon Machisa.

We named them the Thistle Young Poets.

After workshops with Chrissy Williams (what happens when you combine poetry and comics), Yomi Sode (how do you write for performance), Lisa Kelly (what do you need to know as a poetry editor) and Tamar Saphra (what can you do with poems on stage), they opted to create a ‘zine of their new work, and taught themselves the skills they need to create it.

We Come as a Warning: Hope and Monsters by the Thistle Young Poets.

Enjoy their work now, look out for their work in the future!

(Content note: the young poets who were involved with this project are all over the age of 18, and some of the poems they wrote deal with adult themes which are not suitable for younger readers)