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Carol Ann Duffy & Julia Copus

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Carol Ann Duffy & Friends Series 9 – Monday 12th May 2014

Julia Corpus reading live on stage

As the doors to The Royal Exchange’s Studio Theatre opened, the sound of smooth, relaxing jazz rung down the hallway. However, that wasn’t the reason the crowd had turned up at the theatre tonight.

Prior to the beginning of the event, I managed to quickly speak to three guest poets who were past students at Manchester Metropolitan University; Sarah James, Martin Johns and Rachel Davies who were “honoured to be there,” and described it as a “great opportunity.”

Martin Johns on stage reading to an audience

Martin Johns

House Poet Liz Venn introduced each act of the evening to the stage, opening with Sarah James, a writer who, besides primarily being a poet, dabbles in fictional stories and journalism. At tonight’s event, she focused on reading her poetry, which was based on various themes, the most prominent of these was the environmental concerns of the North of England. Prior to reading the poem, Sarah James stated, “The environment, geography and the world around us is something that pre-occupies me as I get older.”

Poets Martin Johns and Rachel Davies followed Sarah James, and both delivered an interesting mix of humorous and thought-provoking poems broken up with short, funny anecdotes, which put each of their poems into a context, making them more intriguing to the audience.

Poet Laureate and Creative Director of the Manchester Writing School, Carol Ann Duffy, recited some of her own poetry, the most memorable of which was based on the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster.

Julia Corpus reading live on stage

Julia Copus

Towards the night’s climax, the event’s main speaker, Julia Copus, took to the stage. Prior to this, Carol Ann Duffy stated with reference to Copus, “To think of her, you’d of think of music, of place, of love.” Copus, read a mixture of light, humorous poetry and some more saddening work. Her innovation and sincere work will surely have gained her some new fans.

The next Carol Ann Duffy and Friends event is due to take place on Monday, 19th May, and will include Paul Henry as a guest speaker. The event will begin at 7:00pm, and will take place in The Royal Exchange Theatre’s Studio Theatre. Tickets are available from £10 from the theatre’s Box Office.

Frazer MacDonald is an aspiring screenwriter/actor, and has recently developed an interest in Journalism. He is studying English and Creative Writing at MMU, and is an avid film fan.

About the author / 

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Natalie Carragher is a lecturer in journalism at Manchester Met. She loves indie magazines and going to gigs. Follow her on Twitter @NatCarragher

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  1. Julia Copus! 15th May 2014 at 10:15 am -  Reply

    Just wanted to thank MMU students — past and present (& esp. Liz Venn) — and the wonderful Carol Ann Duffy, of course, for hosting a great evening. MMU has a reputation for being one of the best creative writing depts in the country, and I can see why! Many thanks to all.

    Julia x

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