Leading poets to perform special Magna Carta poems at Lincoln Castle

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Three internationally-renowned poets have been commissioned by Lincolnshire County Council to each write a poem celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Welsh National Poet Gillian Clarke and Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry holder Imtiaz Dharker will perform their poems for the first time at Lincoln Castle on June 8.

The castle is home to one of only four surviving copies of the document, now housed in the brand new David PJ Ross Magna Carta Vault, following a £22 million refurbishment.

The poems form part of the Magna Carta Poets Laureate Lincolnshire Landscape project, funded by the council and Arts Council England.

Lincoln-based cultural solutions UK, the artistic directors and executive producers of the project, will work with artists and the local community to create original songs, radio plays and documentaries.

A limited edition publication, featuring the commissioned work of the three poets, will investigate modern views of Magna Carta through interviews and articles written by a range of people from different communities across Lincolnshire.

Only 1215 copies of the book will be produced, with 800 being sent to international heads of state and distributed to county schools and libraries, with the rest put on sale.

The project will also see the creation of the inaugural Lincolnshire Young Poet Laureate role.

Aged between 14 and 18, the one-year tenure will see the young poet work with children across the county on writing projects, edit a young people’s book and give readings and talks.

Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Culture and Heritage, said: “With our fantastic new Magna Carta exhibition, Lincoln will be at the heart of this year’s anniversary celebrations.

“I’m delighted that these world-renowned poets are joining us in marking this historic occasion.

“Not only is Magna Carta a cornerstone of our justice system, but it has served as an inspiration to other nations around the globe.

“And we want to recognise its impact in this special year.”

David Lambert, of cultural solutions UK, said: “To bring together three of the world’s most acclaimed poets for a single project is rare and will really help us raise the profile of the city and this year’s celebrations.

“The balance of international artists and Lincolnshire people on the project is important to us and will create a lasting document of the year.”