We at Syntax understand that it is scary to put your writing out into the big wide world, and put yourself forward for something new. Below we’ve compiled an FAQ section to answer your questions, help ease your nerves, and hopefully encourage you to apply! If you have a question about the role of Peterborough Young Poet Laureate, or anything else, you can always email us at syntaxpoetryfestival@gmail.com.

I’m new to writing poetry and haven’t shared my work before, should I apply?”

Absolutely yes! The role isn’t about rewarding the most experienced poet, it’s about finding new voices and inspiring young people to see poetry as a place for them to exist in. Everyone was new to writing poetry once!

“I’m 18 and planning to go to university in September 2020. Can I apply?”

You can! We are open to being flexible around all existing work and study commitments, as long as you are committed to prioritising the role of poet laureate wherever you can. You will also need to be in Peterborough at a date in February 2021 (date TBC) to hand over the title.

“Are there any rules for what kind of poem I can apply with?”

All poems must be under 40 lines in length, and be inspired by our theme: I Know, I Wish, I Will. We’re open to accepting song/rap lyrics, however if you are selected to perform at the final, please note you will not be allowed to sing your full poem (singing a couple of bars/lines is acceptable). We’re also open to accepting prose poems (poems that look like fiction on the page), so long as the poem is under 40 lines in length and inspired by the theme.

“I’m very busy with exams and other commitments. Will the role take over my life?”

We understand that young people have busy, busy lives. The expectation is that the laureate will prioritise their duties where they can, but the role is flexible and can be worked around existing commitments, so it won’t take over your life unless you want it to!

What will happen at the final?”

Finalists will be invited to meet with the judging panel in the afternoon of the 11th Feb, to have an informal chat where we will get to know you a bit better. There will also be an opportunity for a rehearsal to help ease your nerves. The show will begin at 7pm, and each finalist will read their poem to the audience and the judges. The judges will deliberate in the interval, and the winner will be announced at the end of the night, with prizes, a trophy, and ultimate glory.

“What will the Young Laureate actually do?”

The role is brand new and there has never been anything like this in Peterborough before, so in some aspects it’s still up for discussion! However, over the course of the year, the laureate will gain skills in writing and performing, running poetry workshops, as well as developing their confidence and self-belief.

There are 4 “commissions” available for the laureate – this will be similar to our Residencies programme (click here to see more) – where the poet will pick 4 locations in Peterborough to write about and share their work with people across the city.

There is funding also available for the Young Laureate to work alongside the Syntax team to put on their own event, workshop, or other unique ideas, with the aim of getting more people taking part in reading and writing poetry.

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