New Year / New Laureate

The Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust are delighted to announce the appointment of Britain’s new Canal Laureate 2018: Nancy Campbell.

Photo: Björn Valdimarsson 2015

Oxford-based poet and kayaker Nancy has a keen interest in arctic, marine and water conservation, following on from her winter residency at the most northern museum in the world in Greenland in 2010 and subsequent museum residencies in both Greenland and Iceland over the last seven-years.

During 2018 she will ‘seek out and share stories’ from the people and places she will encounter during her travels along the 2,000 miles of the nation’s historic canals and waterways looked after by the Canal & River Trust.

She already has a few projects in place including creating a short work about rain to be displayed by the waterways; writing a poem about an unassuming and endangered type of herring – the Twaite Shad, and a collaboration with Nottingham’s ‘Light Night’ event.

Nancy says: ‘I’m thrilled to be appointed as the new Canal Laureate and am grateful for the inspiring wake of poems the previous Canal Laureates leave behind.  I’ve always lived near to water, from my childhood living between the Tweed and the Tyne, I now live just ten minutes’ walk from the Thames and not far from the River Cherwell and Oxford Canal. I would love to live on a narrowboat, but I don’t think I could fit all my books into one!  Instead, I paddle around Oxford’s waterways on a kayak or canoe, which is a great way to discover these green corridors.

Although my writing is inspired by the environment, I don’t see nature in isolation from human activity. What fascinates me is the intersection between people, the places they live and their local environment.  I’m keen to explore the history of Britain’s remarkable canals, to discover how they have transformed over the last 200 years from an industrial to leisure resource and have become places of recovery and healing to enhance our wellbeing.’

Nancy’s new poems and projects will debut here, and you can follow her adventures via Twitter @CanalPoetry