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  • Eloise Unerman

Becoming Barnsley's Poet Laureate

Updated: May 31, 2020

What does it feel like to be a Poet Laureate? The answer is that I have absolutely no idea. It still feels really surreal and I keep wondering whether this job should go to a 'real adult'. (A 'real adult' will tell you there's no such thing.) But I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what's behind all the doors it's opening.

On March 25th, I went to a wonderful handover ceremony. We started with refreshments then Ian McMillan, the current Laureate, kicked off the event with a few of his poems and some hilarious anecdotes. Now I've got an image of a man bent over like a question mark stuck in my head. One thing's for sure - he's going to be a hard act to follow.

On a more personal note, my experience so far as an Apprentice Poet has really given me a sense of maturing as a poet. I've come a long way since I first started writing with Rotherham Young Writers and that's partly because of their help - I'd definitely recommend one of Hive's groups to any young writer living in or around South Yorkshire. I learned to love poetry over the past few years because the people around me did, and I want to pass that on to others. I've started to talk with local groups about getting involved in events like the Dearne Community Arts Festival, where I'll be spreading my passion for poetry to people aged 11 and up through two workshops.

There'll be more to come about the Laureateship and any other projects I'm getting involved with, so watch this space. And for any new/emerging writers reading this, young or old, I want to pass on a little bit of advice Ian McMillan gave me in this interview: always believe that you can do it.

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