World-renowned poets add to Lincoln Magna Carta legacy

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A collection of poems written by world-renowned poets to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta will be the centrepiece a limited edition book.

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Welsh National Poet Gillian Clarke and Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry holder Imtiaz Dharker were appointed to write three poems for a special Magna Carta arts programme.

They were read for the first time to an audience of VIPs at the official opening of Lincoln Castle by Princess Anne last week.

Now they will form the centre piece of a book exploring the impact of the Magna Carta on democracy and civil rights.

The project, called Magna Carta Poets Laureate Lincolnshire Landscape, is funded by Arts Council England and Lincolnshire County Council and has been designed to celebrate the influence of the 1215 document on society across the world.

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

A limited edition publication, which will feature the commissioned work of the three poets, will also investigate modern views of Magna Carta through the eyes of Lincolnshire communities.

Only 1215 copies of the book will be produced, with 800 being sent to heads of state around the world 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 tenure.

Aged between 14 and 18, the one year tenure will see the young poet working with children and young people right across the county on writing projects, editing a young people’s book and also giving readings and talks.

David Lambert, of cultural solutions UK, said: “Having three of the finest poets working in the UK today at Lincoln Castle was the perfect contemporary response to the 800 year old Charter; we are very pleased with the work and how it was received by so many on the day.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, added: “It will be wonderful to see the history of the Magna Carta, and the significance it still has for us together, brought to life through poetry, music and art.”