Congratulations to Kat Beeton – Peterborough’s new poet laureate.
In front of an audience of more than 50 people at the Lakeside Kitchen and Bar, Kat’s winning entry entitled Here I Am was enough to impress the judging panel – who included 2019-2021 Poet Laureate, Malika Speaks.
The other judges were Bernadetta Omondi (the chair of Peterborough Racial Equality Council and chair of Black History month), Benny Turner (co-founder of Beat This CIC), Teddi the Drag Queen (chair of Peterborough Pride), and Eva Woods (Peterborough YouthMP)
Each poet had to create a poem based on the theme of Manifesto.
The runner up was Sandy Wardrop, and the other four finalists were Edyta Nightingale, Emily Seaton, Gary Huskisson, and Mark Rogers.
Organizer Charley Genever said: “We also opened the night with a special guest performance from 10 year old Amélie Stevenson, who had entered the competition not knowing it was for adults.
“But we loved her poem so much we invited her and her family to join us to open the competition!
“The judges were incredibly considerate in their decision, and I would also say the best-dressed judging line up the competition has ever had!”
Winner Kat Beeton (centre) pictured with other finalists. From left to right: Sandy Wardrop (runner up), Emily Seaton, Kat Beeton, Pete Cox (who read on behalf of Edyta Nightingale and Mark Rogers, Gary Huskisson)
Speaking after the competition, UCP degree student Kat said that she was “still bobbing along in a surreal bubble” and grateful for all the love and the amazing comments she received.
She said: “I used to be a performer, singing and musical theatre, but for a long time I was stuck in my trauma and I couldn’t perform anymore, I found it hard to speak to people. I am now in my final year of a degree in English Literature with Creative Writing at University Center Peterborough and over the last few years, I have found my voice again and grown in confidence.
“I am now able to stand in front of other humans and say that I am a writer, a poet, and a performer without wanting to apologise immediately afterwards. I write all kinds of things from fantasy and dystopian eco-writing to contemporary and creative non-fiction.
“My poetry can be lyrical, humorous, emotional and lately I always have something to say. My poetry these days is meant to be said as much as it is meant to be read and currently my work explores sexuality and gender, trauma, mental health , and equality.
“Being Poet Laureate, for me, means a bigger platform and a louder voice to do the things I am passionate about. We are all different – shape, size, age, ethnicity, orientation, background, and outlook – but there is beauty in that difference, and I want to celebrate that.”
Kat’s winning entry can be seen below:
I spent years in hiding
sliding through shadows
screaming in secret
swallowed by the dark
that throws shade on my future
reshapes my past
where they bruised me with labels
the violence of words
that arises in waves
warriors with keyboards
piling on, raining down hate
cut down my pride
play wargames in my mind
my internal bloodshed
I’m a soldier of my time
It’s time for my words
like free-flowing ink
that splash from the page
and fly out into the world
rising and churning like a hurricane
dressed by the women that came before
cloaked in kinks and flaws
with my fluid lines and thoughts
I pave my own path
I don’t need your likes
I’m a raptor
in full flight
making my own light
I don’t need you to see
you follow my lead
but what do you think of me?