Charley showcases top poetry talent in Peterborough

Charley Genever
Peterborough Poet Laureate 2016
Charley Genever Peterborough Poet Laureate 2016

Peterborough Poet Laureate Charley Genever is to put on a thrilling new poetry night in the city thanks the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Not only is Charley Genever the youngest person to be crowned Peterborough Poet Laureate, she is also perhaps the youngest person from the city to be in direct receipt of a grant from Arts Council England.

She has been busy fulfilling her laureate duties by working on bringing a new kind of poetry night, which she has called Freak Speak, to Radius on Friday, May 13.

Freak Speak is set to be a poetry night unlike any other. Three of the country’s most talented performance poets will be taking to the stage to share their powerful words, and both poets and audience are actively encouraged to be loud, rowdy, and uncensored.

Headlining this Freak Speak are two internationally revered poets, Joelle Taylor and Inua Ellams. Support will come from London poet Talia Randall, who is currently an artist in residence at Peterborough based arts organisation, Metal.

Charley said: ‘I am so honoured to be supported by Arts Council England. The funding gives me the opportunity to invite the country’s best wordsmiths to perform in Peterborough. I really feel that, as Poet Laureate, it’s my responsibility to build on the current poetry offering in the city, and I think Freak Speak is something different to offer people who might be interested in poetry and spoken.”

Charley piloted Freak Speak in November 2015, just before she was crowned Peterborough Poet Laureate, with support from the Peterborough Presents Small Commissions fund.

The pilot was a huge success, and saw 54 people through the doors. Charley hopes that Freak Speak will grow and reach audiences in the hundreds.

The funding from the Arts Council also allows Freak Speak to support and help develop poets in Peterborough and the wider region. Before each Freak Speak there will be an affordable poetry masterclass run by one of the headline artists, and poets of all abilities are encouraged to attend to sharpen their skills. Freak Speak are also offering two paid ten-minute support slots to local poets at each event.

Since being crowned Peterborough Poet Laureate, Charley has also been running poetry workshops and performing in the city at events such as International Women’s Day and Live Art exhibition ‘Wash Your Dirty Linen in Public’ at City Gallery.

On April2 she got through to the finals of nationally acclaimed competition, Poetry Rivals, where she performed her poem ‘The New Poet 
Manifesto’ at the prestigious Elgar Room of the Royal Albert Hall.

Freak Speak tickets are £6, and are available on Eventbrite, or can be reserved by emailing charleygenever@hotmail.co.uk.