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New House Poets Mark Pajak and John Fennelly join Carol Ann Duffy & Friends

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Humanity Hallows Issue 5 Out Now
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By Benjamin Francis Cassidy

Carol Ann Duffy and Friends have recently arrived back at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre for a new poetry related series of events. As well as welcoming a whole host of special guests and performers, the series has also announced the appointment of two new House Poets, Manchester Writing School MA students John Fennelly and Mark Pajak.

Speaking to Humanity Hallows about how it feels to be picked to fill such an important slot, John said, “I’m honoured and excited. I am looking forward to helping showcase the wealth of talent at Manchester Writing School. Carol Ann Duffy and Friends is a great celebration of the power of contemporary poetry and to be given the opportunity to share a stage with such acclaimed guest poets is daunting but will, I am sure, be rewarding.”

Mark Pajak has recently launched his first poetry pamphlet Spitting Distance and has also won first prize in the highly-coveted Bridport Prize. Mark is as knowledgeable as he is impassioned about the history of poetry, and is keen to follow in the footsteps of poets that have gone before.

He said, “As Borges once said, ‘Poetry remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art’ and so I feel that performance is vital to the role of a poet. Yes, when the hot stage lights are shining down and a hundred or so faces are intently watching, it can be daunting to read out something you’ve privately created.

“Personally, I just remind myself, as I suppose all working poets do, that this is my profession and I must strive to do it well.”

Joining John and Mark, as well as the Poet Laureate herself, at the events will be a host of special guests, including new and emerging writers from Manchester Writing School and a variety of established poets offering guests exciting evenings of poetry and conversation. If poetry is for you, this is a series not to be missed. Booking is advised to avoid disappointment.

The next evening of the series takes place on 13th February. For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Exchange Theatre website.




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