Ian Henery, who manages a legal firm in Southside, was invited to perform his Brummie-inspired verses at poetry events in San Francisco and across the whole of the UK via Zoom, spreading the message of how social distancing has changed Birmingham and how the community has come together.
The collection, which is now widely available after being published by Kates Hill Press, also draws inspiration from other aspects of local life including work about the city’s Chinese community that Ian collaborates closely with; and from his family life during COVID-19 with dedicated poems to his partner and daughter.
Ian wants Poems of Hope to not just tell the story of local lockdown, but to help those who have struggled with 2020 and to show them there is light at the end of the tunnel, with a positive message running throughout his work.
Whilst running a successful law firm takes up most of Ian’s time, his passion for poetry led him to be Walsall’s first ever poet laureate between 2011 and 2015, continuing the artform in his spare time whenever he could. Poems of Hope was composed over several months, with Kates Hill Press eager to publish the collection as soon as it was completed.
Commenting on Poems of Hope, Ian said: “I’m incredibly proud of Poems of Hope and to be invited to perform in San Francisco, albeit virtually, is a huge honour for me. The poems tell a difficult story of Birmingham life in lockdown and it’s important for the world to hear our struggles and how we’re dealing with it positively.
“This is as fine a collection of uplifting verse as you could wish to read. I want to prove that as long as people from nations at conflict can unite in a project of friendship, there will always be hope.”