In February 2020, thanks to funding from Youth Inspired and Arts Council England, we launched the first ever Peterborough Young Poet Laureate role, offering one 16-18 year old the chance to become the first ever youth champion for poetry in Peterborough. After a wonderful final, the judges selected Faith Falayi!
Since being crowned, Faith’s first task during this unprecedented time of lockdown, is to write a love poem for a place/person that means something to her. Read below to find out more about Faith, and what she’s chosen for this first commission.
Who are you?
Hello, my name is Faith Falayi, Peterborough’s first Young Poet Laureate! I’m 17 years old with passion for words and have been writing for the last 4/5 years.
What has always intrigued me about poetry is its power to create links between people, opening up pathways to imagination – anything is possible!
I think poetry is especially important among young people: when we read and write, we transgress cultures, backgrounds, age, race and everything else, learning to better understand one another and spread positivity.
What have you chosen to write about for your first commission?
My first commission was to write a tribute to a place I love. I decided to write about the place that instantly came to mind (especially during these bizarre circumstances).
For me, it was School, a place where many young people spend so much time at (love or hate it!) and, like me, may be missing right now.
As Laureate for the younger generation, I wanted to pay tribute to somewhere that we could all connect to. Of course, there are lots of schools in Peterborough, but each one will have fond memories attached to it, no matter where you go.
I feel this is something we all have in common and can relate to, so that’s why the poem is called “If Walls Could Talk” and is all about the memories you could only find within a school building.
Why have you chosen this theme?
For younger people, school is more than just a daily routine of lessons and homework; it’s a space that is our own, where we can learn and grow into better individuals. But currently, this is a space many of us can’t access.
During these hard weeks of lockdown, it can feel like the things we loved are only being taken from us – our routines, our health, our friends, family and freedom.
I want to give this poem, to spread hope and encourage us to look on the bright side, taking comfort in the memories of better times until we can all meet again.
I hope you enjoy it!
We’ll be releasing Faith’s poem in May 2020 on our social media pages, so keep an eye out!