The 2017 Fenland Poet Laureate was Kate Caoimhe Arthur. Previous winners of the competition from 2012 to 2016 were Elaine Ewart, Leanne Moden, Poppy Kleiser, Jonathan Totman and Mary Livingstone.
The Fenland Poet Laureate 2017 was Kate Caoimhe Arthur.
Kate is originally from Northern Ireland, and has lived in Cambridgeshire since 2009, where she is raising her family. She takes inspiration for her writing from the immediate Fen edge landscape which is closest to her in Cottenham.
In her year as FPL Kate plans to collaborate with local artist, the esteemed Fine Art Printmaker, Iona Howard. Both Kate and Iona plan on creating new work together and hope to show it together. Kate will run events such as the Ely Folk Festival and the biannual Fen Edge Festival. She is starting to submit her poetry to magazines. Kate has started a blog, and you can keep up to date with her activities at www.thelongdrove.wordpress.com.
The Fenland Poet Laureate 2016 was Mary Livingstone.
Mary is a poet and sustainability consultant based in Ely, Cambridgeshire. Mary has recently started submitting poems to magazines and her work has appeared in various publications including The Lighthouse, Haverthorn and the anthology In Other Words. She was awarded 2nd place in the 2016 Words & Music poetry competition.
As well as writing poetry, Mary co-edits the literary magazine The Fenland Reed: www.thefenlandreed.co.uk. Visit Mary online at marylivingstone.wixsite.com/poetry
The Fenland Poet Laureate 2014 was Poppy Kleiser.
Poppy's poetry is influenced by folk music and the radicalism of 18th century Romantic literature, using both written and spoken word to explore the strange and haunting nature of the fens. She has performed widely; from festivals to exhibitions and shows about land rights history.
Amongst the many readings and commissions Poppy undertook during her time as Fenland Poet Laureate, she also produced an anthology of work from poets across the UK, Poems for Peace, which was launched in Wisbech with special guest Benjamin Zephaniah, who also provided a foreword for the book. You can find out more about Poppy on her website: poppykleiser.wordpress.com
The Fenland Poet Laureate 2015 was Jonathan Totman.
Jonathan's poems have appeared in magazines, including Envoi, Orbis, The Interpreter's House, Brittle Star, The Cannon's Mouth, and Obsessed with Pipework. They have also been placed in several competitions. Jonathan regularly hosts poetry events, including Fen Speak open mic evenings in Ely. He is also a keen amateur actor and often performs in Cambridge.
During his time as Fenland Poet Laureate, Jonathan ran several workshops at schools and libraries, and organised poetry readings across the fens. He was also awarded 3rd prize in the McLellan Poetry Competition, judged by Simon Armitage, and founded the literary magazine The Fenland Reed, which he co-edits with Mary: www.thefenlandreed.co.uk
The Fenland Poet Laureate 2013 was Leanne Moden.
Leanne is a writer and spoken word poet who has performed her poetry at events across the UK, including recent sets at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, the Beverley Folk Festival and Bestival on the Isle of Wight. She also competes in poetry slams at a national level, and has performed everywhere from hospitals, schools and community centres, to Trinity College, Cambridge, Hackney Downs and the Royal Albert Hall. Leanne was born and raised in Wisbech in the heart of the fens. Although she recently moved away from the area, she still makes special appearances at poetry events in Fenland.
During her time as Fenland Poet Laureate, Leanne performed all over the fens, giving talks and readings, and running workshops with schools and community groups. She wrote commissioned poems for a series rural museums and co-produced a booklet, Glass Cases and Curios, showcasing the work of local writers. She also co-founded the Fen Speak open mic nights with Elaine and fulfilled a lifetime ambition performing with poet John Hegley. You can find her on her blog: tenyearstime.blogspot.co.uk
The Fenland Poet Laureate 2012 was Elaine Ewart.
Elaine is currently working on a PhD in creative writing at the University of Essex. In 2015, she was shortlisted for the Resurgence ecopoetry awards and won 2nd prize in the New Welsh Writing Awards for nature writing. She has been involved in many collaborative projects, including with dance groups and having her poetry set to music, and has run many workshops and given many readings across fenland. She co-founded Fen Speak open mic nights with Leanne in 2013.
During her time as the first Fenland Poet Laureate, Elaine produced a nature poetry anthology featuring local poets, Words for Wide Skies. She was commissioned to write many poems, which found their way into her beautiful pamphlet, Fur, Feather and Fen. You can read more about her work and ongoing poetry activities at flightfeather.wordpress.com