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News article created on 7 December 2015

Luke Kennard appointed as new Canal Laureate

Together with the Poetry Society, we're very pleased to announce the appointment of the 2016 Canal Laureate: the poet Luke Kennard.

Luke Kennard Luke Kennard

Luke takes over the role from boating poet, Jo Bell, as she concludes her hugely successful term as the nation’s inaugural Canal Laureate.

Talking about his appointment, Luke said: "I'm thrilled to be appointed Canal Laureate and I'm already looking forward to the work which will come out of this collaboration. 

"I'm not a boater or an angler and the last time I rode a bike I hit a wall, but I love the mysterious and oddly beautiful environment of the canal paths, the focal point of the industrial and the natural; the way they act as footnotes to the principal roads and streets of the cities they pass through. I suppose I'll be bringing the perspective of the curious, lost pedestrian."

Events, workshops and collaborations

The Canal Laureateship was established by The Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust in 2013, to encourage exciting new writing about the canal network. The project is part of the Arts on the Waterways programme, a wider partnership between the Canal & River Trust, Arts Council England and Arts Council of Wales.

Luke Kennard will begin his Laureateship by foot, writing about his canal-side journeys as he goes, in a series of new poems. The poems, and other surreal observations from the narrow road will be published from January 2016 on the project blog www.waterlines.org.uk. You can also follow his adventures via Twitter @canalpoetry.

As the year progresses, Luke will be engaging audiences in a series of events, workshops and collaborations.

Richard Parry, Canal & River Trust chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Luke Kennard as the new Canal Laureate, as he takes up the baton from Jo Bell. Luke, as a ‘curious pedestrian’, will provide a new perspective, as he explores and learns about our historic canals and rivers afresh, and we’re excited to see the direction he takes."