Together with the Poetry Society, the Canal & River Trust is delighted to announce the appointment of Roy McFarlane as Britain’s new Canal Laureate 2022.
Poet Roy grew up in Birmingham and the Black Country, surrounded by canals. He says: “I lived, played and loved by canals and rivers and am looking forward to recapturing those stories; tales of diverse communities in urban settings who lived with canals in their backyard.”
Roy began his role as Canal Laureate 2022 in December 2021, following in the wake of poets Nancy Campbell (Canal Laureate 2018-9), 2021 Forward Prize-winning Luke Kennard (2016-17) and Jo Bell (inaugural Canal Laureate, 2013-15).
During his Laureateship, Roy is interested to explore how people feel about their local canals currently, and how our national and global history can be read in the story of the canal network’s development. He adds: “I’ll be exploring stories of women, labour and migration in the building of these canals, and how that contributed to the Industrial Revolution with its hidden histories of colonialism and imperialism.”
About Canal Laureate
Established in 2013 by The Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust, the Canal Laureateship aims to encourage exciting new writing about the Britain’s historic canal network. Previous Laureateships have seen poems stencilled onto towpaths in biodegradable paint, designed into new lock-beams, and translated into short films. Poets have drawn on conversations with boaters and engineers, kayakers, lock-keepers and litter-pickers, delved into archives, and given new life to forgotten classics in performances, publication and animations.