Wandsworth is poetry

National Poetry Day is the annual mass celebration on the first Thursday of October that encourages all to enjoy, discover and share poetry.

The Day starts conversations, it encourages love of language – and best of all, it’s open to absolutely everyone to join in, quietly or noisily in rewarding and enjoyable ways. As the art form’s most visible moment, it showcases the ways in which poetry adds value to society.

To celebrate, we want to share with you information on some of our Wandsworth poets, some new (as shared by local poet Hilaire) and some old.

Hilaire – a writer of poetry and prose. She was born and brought up in Melbourne, but has lived in London most of her adult life. “I’ve lived in Battersea for 30 years and written a lot about it!”

Julia Bird – Julia lives in Battersea, works for The Poetry Society, and is widely published. You can watch Julia reading her poetry here.

Rishi Dastidar – Rishi lives in Nine Elms and has two poetry collections published by Nine Arches Press. You can hear Rishi read ‘Cromophilia (song for B): Love is energy, of course it is’ here.

Clarissa Aykroyd – Clarisa lives in Battersea. Her pamphlet ‘Island of Towers’ contains a beautiful poem, ‘Battersea Reach, Spring’.

Troy Cabida – Troy works in Wandsworth’s libraries. His debut pamphlet, ‘War Dove’ published by Bad Betty Press, sold out its first print run in just a few weeks. Watch him perform ‘Angels’ here.

Molly Case – Spoken word artist and writer Molly Case is also a cardiac nurse specialist, working at St George’s Hospital. In April 2013 she achieved national recognition after performing her poem ‘Nursing the Nation’ at the Royal College of Nursing. Following this, Molly was named in the Health Service Journal’s Inspirational Women list and the BBC’s 100 Women list. Her book ‘How to Treat People’ was published by Penguin Random House in 2019. Watch Molly performing ‘Nursing the Nation’ here.

DEACON – Ryan Henry ‘DEACON’ is a rapper and poet hailing from Tooting, who in 2018 released ‘Cotton Wolf’, a concept EP based on interviews from the 1930s and 40s of ex-enslaved African-American, Laura Smalley. DEACON also runs Blankspace sessions, a monthly showcase for local talent at Tooting Tram and Social. Click here to watch a gripping poetry performance from his time working with Akala’s The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company.

Local poets from the past

THOMAS HARDY 1840-1928 POET & NOVELIST lived here 1878-1881.jpg

Thomas Hardy lived in Wandsworth between 1840 – 1928.

ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE (1837-1909) ~ Poet ~ and his friend THEODORE WATTS-DUNTON (1832-1914) Poet-Novelist-Critic Lived and died here.jpg

Algernon Charles Swinburne lived in Wandsworth with fellow poet Watts-Duncan between 1837 – 1909.

GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS SJ 1844-1889 Poet lived and studied in Manresa House.jpg

Gerald Manley Hopkins SJ lived and studied in Wandsworth between 1844 – 1889.

Gavin Ewart 1916-1995 (The Putney Society).jpg

Noted poet, Gavin Ewart, lived in the Borough between 1916-1995.

EDWARD THOMAS 1878-1917 ESSAYIST AND POET lived here.jpg

Edward Thomas, essayist and poet, lived in Wandsworth between 1878 and 1917.