Manchester City of Literature and Manchester Poetry Library announce poetry commissions to celebrate UNESCO World Poetry Day 2021

10 February 2021 - News

Manchester City of Literature and Manchester Poetry Library are delighted to announce two poetry commissions to celebrate UNESCO World Poetry Day 2021.

The Themes of the Commission

Two poets will be selected for this commission. Before submitting an application, please read the section How To Apply in the brief that can be downloaded below .

Poets are invited to respond to the theme of the door as a portal. During the ongoing pandemic, many doors are closed to people but poetry can help open them in different ways and can inspire people experiencing lockdown. We are seeking poems that speak about the power of the imagination, giving hope in dark times and about the door as a gateway or as the start of a new journey.

“Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood,
a garden,
or a magic city.”
– Miroslav Holub, ‘The Door’

As part of the commission, each poet will be filmed reading their poem outside a Manchester doorway. We want to include doors that are recognisable and iconic to acknowledge and celebrate the city itself – for instance Central Library, Salford Lads’ Club, or Chinatown’s paifang (archway). The filmed readings will be broadcast on Sunday 21 March as part of UNESCO World Poetry Day celebrations via YouTube and social media.

There is a fee of £500 per commission to include a new or unpublished poem that responds to the theme and the reading itself. The poem should ideally be 30-40 lines in length.


Who Can Apply?

We are seeking expressions of interest from poets who live or work in Manchester or Greater Manchester. We want to celebrate the rich diversity of our city and our writers so we want to hear from poets of all social and cultural backgrounds and identities. We are looking for poets who can respond to this brief in the time available and can produce work that will inspire and speak to a broad audience, both locally and internationally, including those who may not read or listen to poetry regularly. We are looking for poets who are comfortable reading their work to camera.

For more information and how to apply, please download the brief below. Do not send in poems without an accompanying application letter or video. Unaccompanied poems will not be considered for these commissions.

Deadline to submit your application to be considered for a commission: 5pm on Wednesday 24th February 2021