Kate Feld, poet and Salford lecturer. Image credit: Rebecca Lupton

“If the day can be done on the right scale, I do think it could remind people of poetry’s power.”

David Savill, lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Salford says that the Random Acts of Poetry Day (Wednesday 6th October) can help people in the city connect to the ancient art form of poetry.

“Poetry connects us. And it makes things new. One of the most effective things poetry does is to intervene in the ordinary, quotidian aspects of our life. It gets in the way, shakes things up and makes you see differently.

“The best poems are like a food you’ve never tasted before.”

David Savill, author and programme leader for Creative Writing (Multidiscipline) at the University of Salford said: “I love the idea behind random acts of poetry. Leaving poems around for people to find is the perfect way to disseminate and discover poetry.

According to National Day Calendar website ‘The idea of Random Acts of Poetry Day is to leave a poem somewhere randomly. Many people use chalk to do this. They take sidewalk chalk with them wherever they go and write a poem on the sidewalk. The thought behind this idea is that poetry doesn’t simply belong in books or on paper; it belongs everywhere.’

Poet and University of Salford Journalism lecturer Kate Feld said: “I think that the idea of having random acts of poetry is really appealing because it sounds fun, and it sounds like it’s not organised and it’s hopefully going to engage people who might not ordinarily encounter poetry in their everyday life.

“It’s really important to engage audiences that might not ordinarily have a relationship with poetry.

“Poetry is hugely important in today’s society. It is what allows us to look at our everyday lives and see the kind of magic and wonder in our lived experience and that is something that people are always going to need.”

Salford is the muse of multiple poets, from Jackie Kay MBE to Dr John Cooper Clarke, the city’s poetic history spans across mediums and continents.

Here are some Salford poems and poets to inspire you this Random Acts of Poetry Day:

Rose Condo – Snowflake

Rose Condo. Photo credit: Charles Leek.

Rose Condo is a Salford based Canadian poet who has been writing, performing and teaching for over 20 years.

As well as being an award-winning poet, Condo is also the Programme Team Coordinator for Arts Emergency, an award-winning charity that supports marginalised young people overcome walls to success in the creative and cultural trades.

Rose Condo believes that the Random Acts of Poetry Day will help to engage the local community.

Condo said: “For poets taking part, it’s an opportunity for them to be inventive about how and where they might share poetry in random places.  For people who encounter these random acts, it’s a lovely way to offer little moments of poetic delight.

“These days poetry is shedding the reputation it has had about being boring or confusing or unrelatable.

“More and more people are using words and rhythms and rhymes to share their ideas and insights.  When a person writes poetry, they have the chance to slow their thoughts and really choose the words they want to use to convey their meaning.

“When folks listen to poetry, they can be carried through insights that feel familiar, or encounter views that feel new.”

Find out more about Rose Condo here. 

Jackie Kay MBE – Thinker 

Jackie Kay by Claudia Alonso (2015) University of Salford Art Collection

Jackie Kay MBE is a Scottish poet, playwright and novelist and she was also named Scottish Makar in 2016

In 2015 Kay was appointed as chancellor of the University of Salford. Jackie Kay wrote the poem Thinker in response to the sculpture Engels’ Beard, by Jai Redman which is located on the University of Salford’s Peel Park campus.

The sculpture is a homage to philosopher Fredrich Engels who wrote The Condition of The Working Class in England after witnessing the conditions of people living in derelict areas in Salford and Manchester in 1845.

The full story behind the poem can be viewed here.

Find out more about Jackie Kay here.

Dr John Cooper Clarke – Evidently Chickentown

John Cooper Clarke is an iconic Salfordian punk poet with a career that spans over 50 years.

Cooper Clarke’s work has been so highly praised that in 2013 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford in “acknowledgement of a career which has spanned five decades, bringing poetry to non-traditional audiences and influencing musicians and comedians.”

Find out more about Dr John Cooper Clarke here.

JB Barrington – Another Way

JB Barrington is a successful Salford born poet whose emotional poems shed a light on the life of the working class.

In a previous Salford Now interview with the poet he said: “My work has a strong working-class sentiment both within its themes and its humour but that’s only because of where I’m from and ultimately because of my own working-class upbringing and background.”

You can view some of Barrington’s poems here.

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