14 October 2017 - 4 November 2017


dan simpson 660.jpg

[Photo c.Zofia Walczak]

The Festival is delighted to announce that performance poet, Dan Simpson, is taking over from Sarah Salway as the new Canterbury Laureate for 2013.

Dan Simpson is a spoken word poet and compère, poetry projects and event organiser, workshop facilitator and writer. His poetry deals with love and literature, science and stars, ex-girlfriends and Xboxes: all that good geeky stuff. His poetry has featured on London Underground and on BBC Radio, and has been published in Fuselit journal and Inc. Magazine.

Dan hosts popular spoken word night The Word House, as well as The Anti-Slam and Stand Up & Slam! events around the UK. A regular on the London and South East live literature circuits, he has performed at venues like the National Theatre and Camden Roundhouse, and at nights such as Literary Death Match, Festival of the Spoken Nerd and Bang Said the Gun. 

He also creates pioneering work with crowdsourced poetry, with a piece soon to appear in The Beaney. He is also active in programming and promoting outdoor poetry, working closely with Lounge on the Farm and Workers of Art amongst others. In 2011 Dan adjudicated the Canterbury Festival Schools’ Poetry Competition. He is currently writing his first solo show, to be performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2013.

Dan says: "Canterbury is where I started out in poetry, from learning about and writing poems at the University of Kent to performing at my first open mic nights in the city. Canterbury Festival enabled me to see poetry in performance through Patience Agbabi and Baba Brinkman, and gave me one of my first chances to perform my own work at the annual 'Poet of the Year' competition. When the Festival asked if I'd like to be their Laureate this year I was thrilled - Canterbury is my creative home, and the opportunity to be an advocate for poetry in the area is an incredible one. 

I'm especially excited to adjudicate the Schools' Poetry Competition again, having done so in 2011. One of my favourite things to do as a poetry practitioner is to encourage creativity and expression in young people, so I can't wait to run workshops for local schools and see what poems are written - and then performed at the final event on National Poetry Day! 

As Laureate I hope to champion the role of performance poetry and the spoken word - though maintaining the importance of the written word too. I also hope to take advantage of digital technologies - do say hello to me on Twitter @dansimpsonpoet! I can't wait to get started - this is going to be an exciting year for poetry!"

Find out more about Dan here.


Archive Projects: 


Schools’ Poetry Competition 2013

Judging for 2013’s Schools’ Poetry Competition is well underway, with this year’s Canterbury Laureate Dan Simpson thrilled with the quality of the entries. After leading a week of workshops in schools across Kent, conducted on a Stagecoach bus, Dan says: “It’s a pleasure to read so many brilliant poems from young people, though picking some to win prizes is pretty tough!”

Following a performance coaching session from Dan for all the finalists, the young poets will be included in an anthology and invited to perform their work on Thursday 3 October at The Schools’ Poetry Presentation evening, held at the Dominican Priory at 5.30pm.


City of Voices 2013

In addition to his Schools’ Poetry Competition duties, Dan is leading on a community poetry project for the Festival. City of Voices is a new piece of poetry all about Canterbury created through workshops and crowdsourcing techniques. The final poem will be turned into a spoken word performance by a ‘choir of poets’ and debuted at the Festival on the 31st October at the Cathedral Lodge. 

Everyone is invited to participate in the making of this poem, though Dan is especially keen to hear the stories, lives and memories from people living in the Canterbury District. To take part by submitting your words to the poem, you can tweet @dansimspsonpoet using the #cityofvoices hashtag, or by emailing dan@dansimpsonpoet.co.uk - and be sure to check out the performance at the Festival!

For more information, have a look at: http://crowdsourcedpoetry.wordpress.com/currently-crowdsourcing/city-of-voices/