Dominic Berry and Chrissie Gittins Celebrate Poetry at Manchester Central Library!

Chrissie and Dominic
Poets of all ages were invited to Manchester Central Library yesterday to celebrate all things poetic. The event, kindly sponsored by Manchester City Council and Arts Council England, was hosted by festival friends and children’s poets, Dominic Berry and Chrissie Gittins.
First, the audience were treated to some of Chrissie’s amazing and very funny poetry. Chrissie read a poem she wrote about her nephew called ‘Sam, Sam, Quite Contrary’ before reading one inspired by her niece called ‘The Tale of Dotty Cuddletum’, which is about a girl who is covered in chickenpox! Chrissie also read from her collections I Don’t Want An Avocado For An Uncle and The Humpback’s Wail before finishing with a poem from the fantastic Manchester Children’s Book Festival anthology Let in the Stars called ‘The Rare Boy.’
Next, Dominic invited members of the audience to read some poetry in an open mic session. First, Eve read a poem she had written about Manchester followed by Rob Paul Weston who read an extract from his poetic novel Zorgamazoo. Next came the Abbs-Brown family. First, Joss recited Julia Donaldson’s ‘I Opened A Book’, followed by brother, Isaac who recited Lewis Carroll’s ‘Jabberwocky’. Both Joss and Issac read from memory, which called for a huge round of applause!
Then Jani Abbs-Brown read a poem by Ian McMillan called ‘Adult Fiction’ which tells what magical places libraries can be. Jani, who, alongside Joss and Isaac, has attended every event of this year’s Manchester Children’s Book Festival so far, said,

“The festival is just brilliant. We have been coming since 2010 and it’s the highlight of our year.”

Asked why it’s important to encourage the local community to engage with poetry, host Dominic said,
“Poetry is important because it’s involves saying what you feel strongly about whilst also finding the best possible words with which you can say it. For me, poetry is the most concise and yet imaginative form of literature.”
All of the guests at the open mic session thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the Manchester Central Library was an ideal location for the event. Festival director, James Draper said,
“What is brilliant about events like this is they are a great example of how the Manchester Children’s Book Festival and its public-sector partners work together. The Central Library has such a great sense of community spirit and is a fantastic focal point right in the city centre where people can engage with all types of art, culture and literature.”
The event finished with Dominic reading from his own collection Spark the Goblin Wizard.
If the Book Festival’s Poetry Weekend has inspired you to write some verse, then why not get involved with our Reading and Writing Relay? Or if you would simply like to read some fantastic poetry for all ages, our Let in the Stars anthology is available now.
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