Image by Jeremy Segrott on Flickr.

“You can say anything” – Canterbury’s caught poetry

National Poetry Day is on the 28th September this year, with its theme of ‘Freedom’. But for the Canterbury scene, every day is a celebration of verse. 

Canterbury is packed with creatives. Within the city walls and its three universities: singer-songwriters, illustrators, filmmakers and tattoo artists all practice and hone their crafts. But out of all of them, it’s the poets you just can’t escape.

The city’s literary history is formidable. So it’s only right that its contemporary ‘Chaucer’s’ continue this tradition of storytelling and rhyme. Slams, open mics, book readings and street performances are all common in Canterbury. The Wise Words festival, held within the city centre, has featured the likes of Kate Tempest, Carol Ann Duffy and Roger McGough in most recent years.

For such a big emergence in the spoken word scene for so small a place, we can only assume that Canterbury must be using just the right words. Poetry
Kate Tempest, one the most popular spoken word artists in Britain. Image by Kim-Leng on Flickr.

Local poet, Marcus Holmes, 28, doesn’t think the boost in bards is going to settle down anytime soon. “Once people realise that there’s no perfect way to to do it apart from express yourself honestly, there’s no stopping them. You can say anything… repressed, middle aged scholars no longer own it…”

Vertex and the Thanet Poetry Posse* – collectives established in Kent – are organising a poetry postcard handout across the south east on the 28th.

National Poetry Day was founded by William Sieghart in 1994, to promote poetry and its performance across the UK.

Check out Canterbury’s Poet Laureate, Lemn Sissay, and his piece for last year’s National Poetry Day.

Got an event going on for National Poetry Day that people should know about? Or even fancy yourself as a poet?

Tweet us @CCSUUNIFIED, or send submissions to

*Organisers include: Alex Vellis, Connor SansbyUmor Haque, Sadie Davidson, Cat Howe, and Lucas Howard.


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Dylan Stallard

Dylan Stallard is the Entertainment Editor for Unified. He is currently studying Creative and Professional Writing (BA) at Canterbury Christ Church University and hosts a radio show on CSRFM for writers, poets and musicians.

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