Leeds Central Library to Host First ‘Collections in Verse’


The first ever Collections in Verse showcase, a unique nationwide collaboration between the British Library and Poet in the City funded byArts Council England, will launch at Leeds Central Library this March.

Following on from the British Library’s successful exhibition Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land last year, the inaugural Collections in Verse showcase will celebrate the Caribbean community’s impact on the cultural landscape of Leeds. Looking at music, fashion and language, this lively takeover event at Leeds Central Library will feature live music, poetry, performance, talks and real-life stories.

Collections in Verse is an ambitious live poetry programme between the British Librarythe Living Knowledge Network of 22 major libraries across the UK, and Poet in the City. Over the next two years the project will spark new creative ways for audiences across England to engage with the British Library’s collections and exhibitions through the lens of local stories, histories and cultures.  

Leeds Central Library will host the first ever Collections in Verse showcase in a free takeover event calledColonizin in Reverse”: Celebrating Caribbean Culture on Wednesday 27 March (18:00-21:30).

The event will feature a set by Leeds DJ Fluid Irie, an open mic session with rapper and singer Testament, Dub Poetry with Roger Robinsona celebration of Sound System Culture with Khadijah Ibrahiim, live performance from singer-songwriter, composer and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson and author and poet Anthony Joseph,with much more yet to be announced.

Poet in the City has commissioned three eminent Leeds poets of Caribbean descent to explore the legacy of Windrush on the city and their work:

  • Malika Booker is a LHRI Fellow and Creative Writing Teaching Fellow at Leeds University. She is working at the Harehills Compton Road Library researching the impact of Windrush women on fashion and the textiles industry in Yorkshire.
  • Vahni Capildeo is a Forward Prize-winning poet and the current Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Poetry at the University of Leeds. Their work with community groups at Beeston’s Dewsbury Road library looks at the concept of migration, the multiple senses of ‘home’, and how everyone’s life is a tapestry of small and large journeys.
  • Khadijah Ibrahiim is a Leeds born and bred poet and playwright and founder of Leeds Young Authors. She is working with the Reginald Centre in Chapeltown exploring African Caribbean folklore and music traditions and their place in the UK pre and post-Windrush.

Jamie Andrews, Head of Culture and Learning at the British Library says, “Collections in Verse is a truly exciting, and wholly original, collaboration. Public libraries are natural homes for live poetry and performance, and so we are excited to work with Poet in the City and our five public library partners to reimagine British Library exhibitions for new audiences across the country.”

Alison Millar, Reader and Culture Development Manager for Leeds Libraries says: “We have been so pleased to be the first library service to work on this project with Poet in the City and the British Library. ‘Colonizin in Reverse’ promises to be such an exciting event and will be a fantastic way of celebrating the work that has happened in our libraries with the communities they serve and the commissioned poets.”

“Colonizin in Reverse”: Celebrating Caribbean Culture

Leeds Central Library, Calverley Street, LS1 3AB

Wednesday March 27th from 6.00 to 9.30pm

Tickets are free but must be booked in advance

Book here https://colonizininreverse.eventbrite.co.uk

Visit http://poetinthecity.co.uk/collectionsinverse/leeds/for more information