Five début poets from diverse backgrounds, all aged 26 and under, performed work from the new collection Rising Stars, New Voices in Poetry, to a crowded room of booksellers, librarians, poets, festival programmers, critics and friends at Gerry’s Kitchen, Theatre Royal Stratford East, London on 21st November.
The poetry anthology for 10-14 year olds is an exciting collaboration between Otter-Barry Books and Pop Up Projects, supported by Arts Council England’ Grant for the Arts programme. Illustrations in the book are by final year students from Birmingham City University’s illustration course.
Joelle Taylor, founder and Artistic Director of SLAMbassadors UK, mentored all the poets and was consultant for the book. She said: “Rising Stars is a unique addition to the young poetry canon, with an anthology that addresses the vast diversity of people within the UK. Written by some of the brightest emerging poets in the country, the book tackles everyday issues from Afro hair to impending divorce with a delicacy and empathy rarely found. Finally, here is poetry that readers can see their faces in.”
Janetta Otter-Barry, Publisher, Otter-Barry Books said: “ We are immensely proud to publish this ground-breaking poetry collection for young readers.”
Dylan Calder, Director, Pop Up Projects added: “All children need to see themselves in the pages of the books they read. Whatever it is you discover in this eloquent collection, have no doubt that between these pages you’ll encounter some of the brightest lights in poetry today – alongside outstanding first-time illustrators. Truly, these are the stars to watch out for.”