‘Contact’ was the last commission given to Ianto Carter and Elliott World, this year’s Poet Laureates at St Birinus School. It feels like a relevant and timely theme to reflect on, as England continues in national lockdown. It continues to be a struggle to maintain enough contact with others. And how much social contact is ‘enough’? I think this varies enormously, from individual to individual.
Times are tough but writing is something we can hide ourselves in, play and discover in. The Poet Laureates can use these commissions to express where they are at now and how they see the future.
I think Elliott and Ianto learned a lot through this last commission. They expressed how editing has become more real to them – the concept of ‘weigh every word’ in our poems was pointedly demonstrated during one of our mentoring discussions, which went along the lines of,
“Should the ‘yet’ be cut? What happens if we lose it?”
In the end ‘yet’ became ‘so’ and the whole poem shifted on this axis!
Discussions like these are fruitful and we love them. I’m particularly thankful for Zoom technology, which means I can continue to mentor these poets in a personal way.
Here are their new poems. Please share and enjoy!
Watch Elliott read his poem here (featuring Lily Knutton):