Staffordshire’s new poet laureates named

Ollie Hulme and Mel Wardle Woodend are Staffordshire new poet laureates.

TWO budding writers have been appointed as Poet Laureate and Young Poet Laureate for Staffordshire.

Mel Wardle Woodend, 39, from Stafford is the new Staffordshire Poet Laureate while Ollie Hulme, 17, from Weston Coyney, takes up the role of Young Poet Laureate.

The duo were appointed at a special event in Stafford library as part of National Poetry Day last Thursday.

The roles were created by Staffordshire County Council’s Libraries and Arts Service and hope to inspire a love for poetry and literacy amongst adults and children across the county.

Mel said: “I am delighted to be appointed as Staffordshire Poet Laureate and am really looking forward to promoting poetry across Staffordshire and beyond.

“Poetry does not have to be traditional or studied from textbooks, but can be vibrant, contemporary spoken word and I’m keen to get this message across. It can be a great communication tool too, that can help people express their emotions and help them to gain confidence.

“I want to use poetry to help other people, the way that poetry has helped me.”

Ollie said: “Being appointed as Young Poet Laureate is a great honour for me. It’s an exciting opportunity for me to spread poetry and help others to access the power of poetry.

“Poetry is a very personal way of putting our thoughts onto paper and a great way to create something beautiful out of how we’re feeling. I am really excited about sharing my love of poetry as a tool for emotional literacy, self-understanding and positive mental health.

“Over the next year I plan to bring many poetry workshops to schools, hospitals and anywhere people really need to see what poetry is.”

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Libraries Chief welcomed Ollie and Mel to their new role.

Coun Heath, the Leek Rural member, said: “I’m delighted to welcome our two new poets laureate to their new roles. The appointments are great news for poetry fans and will help us to bring the appreciation and enjoyment of poetry to a wider audience, and also promote the diverse culture of this great county of ours.

“Last year Emily and Lily did a marvellous job of promoting poetry across the county, and I would like to thank them for their hard work. I’m now looking forward to seeing what Ollie and Mel have planned for the year ahead.”

Mel and Ollie replace the previous post-holders Emily Rose Galvin from Lichfield and Lily Massey from North Staffordshire who was the county’s Young Poet Laureate.