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Hoovers, Rabbits & Laureates: Lauren Kendrick’s Debut Performance as Peterborough Poet Laureate

"I got the hoover and sellotaped it up so I had a fake microphone in my house like some demented Freddie Mercury..." Feature writer Kirstie Marfleet gets Lauren Kendrick to open up about her poetry life.

As everyone slowly makes their way out of the ‘Unleash Your Voice’ poetry open mic night, hosted by University Centre Peterborough at the Key Theatre, Lauren and I are left sitting in the front row. Lauren looks as though she is buzzing with adrenaline and rightly so - her first live performance as Peterborough Poet Laureate was an undeniable success. Lauren is really enthusiastic about "words and stories: the ones we keep inside, tell others, and tell ourselves." This passion really comes across in Lauren’s poetry.

Lauren Kendrick performing at the Unleash Your Voice open mic night.
Lauren Kendrick performing.

After congratulating Lauren on her performance, I asked how it felt to step into such a prestigious role. Her face lit up as she simply sighed and said, "Amazing! It was actually really daunting at first, I felt like a rabbit stuck in the headlights for a while." She shifted around in her seat and carried on, "I’m getting more comfortable with it. Although, I don’t mean that it has gotten any less special! A really great piece of advice that I got after winning (Poet Laureate) was to remember this feeling and to hold onto it. Now it’s like I keep the feeling locked away in a little locket. I open it up every now and then to be reminded of that wow feeling."

Lauren then went on to tell me about her journey as a poet and how she got to be Poet Laureate. "This is going to sound a bit like I’m a tart but I’ve been around the scene," Lauren laughed. "I don’t mean that the way it sounds, just that I’ve been here for a while. I was still really nervous about putting myself forward for it. However, I realised that you aren’t meant to be a final polished piece. It’s not meant to be this shiny trophy to say here you’re finished, It’s meant to be a part of your journey." Lauren also divulged her secret of how she came to practise her microphone skills. "I hadn’t had any experience really, I got the Hoover and sellotaped it up so I had a fake microphone in my house like some demented Freddie Mercury."

Lastly, I asked Lauren if her first performance as Poet Laureate felt any different. She pondered for a second, "I felt quite pressured by it! I was a bit like", Lauren laughed as she mimicked a gasp, "but I think there is something beautiful about the poetry community within Peterborough and they are so supportive. I think really for a first performance it was kind of like a welcome home party, where we were all here together. It was really special."


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