Video | Thursday, 28th September 2017
New poem 'Manchester' published on National Poetry Day
Watch Andrew McMillan perform his poem specially commissioned by VisitEngland
It is a modern-day interpretation of William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, but rather than a rural landscape, the setting is buzzing, urban Manchester, where the poet ‘danced last night up Deangate locks | canal a pulse beneath my feet’.
The poem describes a night out in the city among ‘brightly coloured people’, which turns into a beautiful sunrise in the Northern Quarter; it captures the joyful atmosphere of Manchester and its residents and incorporates key elements of the ideal mini-break to the city, including the new contemporary arts hub HOME, the Palace Theatre, nightlife around Deansgate Locks and the vintage shops and tearooms of the bohemian Northern Quarter.
It's great to celebrate this city that I love. A commission like this makes you reconsider somewhere that you know really well; I live in Manchester and have walked by the places in my poem every day. That's the job of poetry – to make us look again at the everyday.
With a rise in spoken word scenes across the country, VisitEngland partnered with National Poetry Day for the project – with another new poems celebrating London - as part of its ‘Year of Literary Heroes’.
Andrew McMillan joined Manchester Metropolitan University this month as Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry). An acclaimed poet, his debut collection physical was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award and he has gone on to garner several other awards and prizes.
He said: “It's great to celebrate this city that I love. A commission like this makes you reconsider somewhere that you know really well; I live in Manchester and have walked by the places in my poem every day. That's the job of poetry – to make us look again at the everyday.
“Romantic poetry, like Wordsworth, has given us a notion that great poetry is about the landscape, about pastoral places, so it's been a great challenge to rewrite Daffodils in an urban setting. Hopefully people will try it for themselves, writing a poem in celebration of where they're from, because everywhere is worthy of writing about.”