Despite the multitude of poems living in my laptop and notebooks and the bits and pieces of verse hiding in my mind, it still came as a surprise to me to find out that I was the tenth Young Poet Laureate for Birmingham and it still hasn't properly sunk in.
Every single short-listed poet that performed alongside me as part of the auditions process, in early September, was wonderful. They weaved words to capture not only ears, but also minds and hearts, which is why I had no idea that it would be me who would get the role.
To each of those poets I would like it say: well done for having the courage to apply and perform and don't even think about giving up. Having missed out on the role last year, I at first wondered whether I should reapply, if maybe it just wasn't for me, but later I realised how much I had grown as a person and saw that that then just wasn't my time. If I hadn't reapplied this year, then I would not be writing this or have this wonderful opportunity - so those who applied this year or the years before or any other young poets out there, don't give up, time is a gift that will take you to your moment as long as you give it a chance.
Having just started sixth form in September, I feel as if I have dived into a world of new things: a new school, new teachers, new subjects, new books and quite a few new friends (not forgetting the old ones, they are still there too, faithfully supporting me). And just like sixth form, the YPL role will consist of many firsts, just as last year gave me my first chance to perform my poetry. And each of these firsts I look forward to with equal nervousness and excitement, hoping that each will inspire new and better poetry.
On National Poetry Day, the 2nd of October 2014 I was honoured to hear the short-listed poets for the Adult Poet Laureate perform, with an impressive poise and presence that I hope to achieve myself one day and would like to congratulate Adrian Blackledge for winning the title. I also received my wonderful and generous prizes, my certificate and trophy and thanks to the wonderful support of the Feeney Trust for the iPad Mini on which to write my blog posts. I was asked to say a few words, so despite my highly likely deer-in-the-headlights look, I managed to thank my parents and sister, my teachers and my friends for supporting me over the years and to thank the audience and tell them that I hope they enjoy my poetry in the coming year.
As part of my prize I also got the chance to choose £100 pounds worth of books from Peter's Booksellers in the City Centre, and being an avid bookworm, it was a part that I was looking forward to a lot. So on the 13th of October, after popping into my old secondary school to say 'hi' for the first time since I had left and admittedly show off my trophy, my dad and I headed down to the bookshop. The shop was HUGE and the staff were all friendly and welcoming, making the experience even better - my dad claims that it look me 3 hours to find my books, but I could have easily have spent hours more in there if he had not convinced me to leave in favour of dinner. I also got the chance to talk to my lovely link to the library, Heidi and discuss what would happen in the year and I received *drumroll*... my first commission - I will reveal more at a later date, but it is a lovely request that I can't wait to complete.
So after all my rambling I wrote a lot more than I thought I would, but to someone who is known as a notorious chatterbox I suppose that is to be expected. To anyone who has taken the time to read this post - whether it was the whole thing, a paragraph, a sentence or even simply a word - thank you! I will try my best to keep you all up to date with my poetry adventures and events.