Updated: Nov 10
Molly Woodthorpe interviewed the three new Poet Laureates appointed within Peterborough and Stamford- Kat Beeton for Peterborough, Scott Coe for Stamford and Daniel Paice as the Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate for Stamford.
(Left to Right: Daniel Paice, Scott Coe, Kat Beeton)
Meet Daniel Paice, the new Stamford Youth Poet Laureate
19-year-old Daniel Paice has been named as the inaugural Youth Poet for Stamford, following a competition against other incredibly talented poets. Daniel's poetry journey began when he was 13, describing himself as a precise person, he felt poetry was a way of succinctly putting together his feelings on paper. Now, six years later he is a published poet and has also gained the title of Youth Poet Laureate. Daniel's first book, Prevailed Hope has received 4.9 stars out of 5 on Amazon. Written on the basis of mental health, Daniel explores emotions over passing time, splitting the book into three sections; Midnight, Dawn and Midday, beginning with defeat and leaving hopeful, as time passes. His second, A Moment of Detachment, is a poetic short story exploring the relationship between a mother and her son, alongside mental health challenges and dissociation. Becoming Youth Poet Laureate for Stamford, to Daniel, means a new step in his career and the ability to put himself out there more. It is also a true testament to what can be achieved through hard work and determination, as the competition this year was so fierce that two winners were announced by the judging panel— with Daniel's incredible poem ‘Keep Writing’, wowing them into creating a new position of Youth Poet Laureate. He also views this as an opportunity to help others through his writing- tackling hard-hitting topics and raising awareness of mental health issues. This Poets message to everyone is that “Poetry is not just Shakespearian.” It can be about anything and can be written in many different ways, he hopes this message will inspire young people to take up poetry or creative writing in a way that suits them. This is because he feels that in school, “you can lose sight of the fact that writing is much more than just writing essays to complete exams, as well as indirectly showing that young and disabled people can achieve great things. Through my work, I want to raise awareness around mental health.” Daniel feels it is so important to get involved in poetry because it can help us express complex feelings and ideas in a more concise manner, when writing a poem it can be written with intention and you can take exactly what you want from it. For Daniel, this has been as assistance with his mental health and working out the best way to help himself. Daniel's winning poem, Keep Writing: Keep on writing. Write the stress away. Keep writing. Put together the pieces, and life will come together for you. My advice to you is to keep on writing. We never know of the opportunities that will come, the people we'll meet, The influence our words will have. Your heart desires to write, So don't disobey it. What starts as a slow ebb of desire, May soon bloom into a fiery passion - as the words fly from your subconscious to your fingertips, and then onto the page. The writing is on the wall. The words you write will soon delight a reader's imagination. That same fire that burns at the pit of your stomach, now burns in theirs'. A wandering thought will soon become a thought to ponder. Poetry is a brilliant way to light this fire. Concise, but full of emotion, It can hit the very recesses of our consciousness Of our imagination Remind us of what makes us human, The key role that emotions play in our lives. So write. Your destiny is laid bare, clear as day, For all to see. Writing is the way forward. Find Daniel: AMAZON TWITTER INSTAGRAM
An Interview with Scott Coe, The New Stamford Poet Laureate
Meet the unconventional poet who won his place as Poet Laureate for Stamford with a rap about Boris Johnson... Looking at Daffodils in primary school, and then later venturing into war poetry at secondary school, Scott was never one for the more traditional forms of poetry. Instead, his beginning in writing took the form of lyrics, only joining the poetry scene after a friend suggested taking his lyrics to a poetry night in Cambridge, where he found that he really enjoyed being able to perform his work. Music is still what inspires him, with lyricists such as Noel Gallagher, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, and Guy Chambers being some of the prime examples, as well as the word hooks that can be found in Pet Shop Boys lyrics- finding interest in these and taking them as inspiration. He also finds the same with podcasts- selecting words which interest him and using them in his writing, most of which is reactive to situations he sees or finds himself in. To Scott, becoming Poet Laureate means having the opportunity to have a louder voice and a presence unlike the one he had before, as well as being able to present the idea that poetry isn't just, as he put it “a load of dusty old men sitting in a room”. That it is in fact, for everyone regardless of gender, age or background. He hopes through his appointment as Stamford’s Poet Laureate, that he will be able to encourage this idea, and show that poetry is varied- from spoken word to lyrics, rap to prose, storytelling, flash fiction and even comedy. With regard to Stamford, he aims to promote the thriving art scene there and get more people involved, even if they think poetry isn't for them. He says that it definitely can be, even if you don't write or create things yourself, reading or attending the works of others is a great way to be involved in creativity. He said that “If I can do it anybody can, I may be Poet Laureate but I’m just a figurehead” encouraging the people of Stamford to get involved- asking what they want to do that he can help put in motion. He also stresses the importance of creativity in times like these- having just made it through two years of lockdowns, now there is the cost of living crisis and the tragic situation in Ukraine, poetry is a way to answer your own questions and give yourself a voice and a way to express emotion. An example of this was the rap that won him his place as poet laureate- experiencing anger and upset at Partygate, he originally wrote it for the Some Antics slam championship back in January, with only two days to learn it before having to perform it. Although it didn't win that evening, the judges of the Poet Laureate competition were clearly blown away by it. By pushing both himself and what poetry is typically defined by, he feels he is able to grow and promote other forms of spoken word, and the ability to explore new topics, such as politics and comedy, are not his typical go-to's. Scotts rap cannot be included in this article due to language, however, it can be found on his youtube.
Kat Beeton, Peterborough's new Poet Laureate
Get to know the new Poet Laureate for Peterborough and her plans for the role a little better!
Kat Beeton is inspired by music, through both singing and listening, she finds herself able to explore how she feels and thinks. With eclectic tastes, ranging from heavy metal to musicals, this poet likes difference. She also found herself getting into poetry in a bit of a different way- actually stopping writing as she didn’t think she was doing it right, having only been introduced to the likes of Byron and Keats. However, upon beginning her degree Kat was able to explore new ways of writing, and realised that what she thought she knew about the traditional rules of poetry was almost irrelevant to her, “It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you write it.”
So, that is exactly what she did. In 2022, she has not only achieved the title of Peterborough’s Poet Laureate but is also the editor-in-chief for the University Centre Peterborough’s first-ever anthology of new writing, entitled ‘The Other Side.' You will be able to find Kat there on the 15th of June from 7 pm-9 pm, and you can get free tickets on Eventbrite here. On the night, there will be readings from the anthology by students, and also a display of artwork by Peterborough College and University Centre Peterborough students.
Becoming Peterborough's Poet Laureate means being able to expand her platform through other events in Peterborough too, attending events such as this year's Peterborough Celebrates and being on stage for the poetry workshop there. It also means being able to have a louder voice to talk about the things that she feels are important, such as how we need to make the arts more accessible to everyone and let people know there is a place for them within it, as well as celebrating diversity. She feels that the arts are now more important than ever. We have spent an unprecedented two years of our lives in a period of lockdowns, loss and uncertainty and in that time we have coped through creativity- even cookery, binging Netflix, reading or writing, it is all attributed to the arts. In her words, on her chosen creative outlet, "Poetry connects humans".
Kat was unable to perform for a long time due to personal trauma, after being a performer who lost confidence and then regained her voice, she wants to show others that they can do the same when facing adversity. Another thing that is important for Kat as a newly appointed Laureate, is to encourage the beauty of difference to other people and the idea that you do not have to conform to other people's ideas. Identifying as Genderfluid and Bisexual, Kat wants to show others that they don't have to live in a box.
Find Kat's winning poem and social media below:
Here I am
I spent years in hiding
sliding through shadows
screaming in secret
swallowed by the dark
that throws shade on my future
reshapes my past
where they bruised me with labels
the violence of words
that surge in waves
warriors with keyboards piling on,
raining down hate
cut down my pride
play wargames in my mind
my internal bloodshed
I’m a soldier of my time
It’s time for my words
like free-flowing ink that splash from the page
and fly out into the world
rising and churning like a hurricane
dressed by the women that came before
cloaked in kinks and flaws
with my fluid lines and thoughts
I pave my own path
I don’t need your likes
I’m a raptor in full flight
making my own light
I don’t need you to see
you follow my lead
but what do you think of me?