Former Walsall Poet Laureate With New Collection

Ian Henery, who was Walsall`s first Poet Laureate (2011 – 2015), has a new collection of poetry called “Poems of Hope” which is published by Kates Hill Press. ‚ÄúThese “Poems of Hope” were born out of the COVID-19 pandemic which has swept away the old lifestyles of the entire world”, explained Ian.

Included within this collection are the poems he was commissioned to write for Walsall For All about COVID-19 and social distancing, rainbows of hope for Southside BID in Birmingham and poems about Norse characters for a Warlord Games in Nottingham.

There are also poems for Ian`s daughters, for his partner, for his home town of Walsall written when he was Poet in Residence for Walsall Parish Church`s 800th Anniversary and Sister Dora in Walsall. There are also poems celebrating the UNESCO Black Country Global Geopark, where he will be running poetry workshops and poems which he used to help people in recovery from addiction in a series of poetry workshops he ran before lockdown. “These are poems that have been tried and tested in virtual poetry performances during lockdown on WebEx, Facebook and Zoom platforms around the world” explained Ian.

In one night Ian performed on Zoom in San Francisco, Newcastle, Birmingham and Brighton. The poems about COVID-19 and social distancing for Walsall For All were performed during a series of Zoom performances hosted in New York with participants across the world.

“I have been very active poetry-wise” said Ian “during lockdown but it`s my 15 year old daughter who has kept me sane. We want on long walks together, she has sorted out all of my technical issues with Zoom, Facebook and social media – and she even got the manuscript ready for publication. The book is dedicated to her because she is amazing. Her name is Grace”.

Ian Henery is a successful local solicitor with offices across the West Midlands but he describes that as “just the day job”. He is a playwright who has been commissioned to write a trilogy for China West Midlands on the theme of “home” and within this collection are poems which were edited from his first draft of the play on the Chinese Labour Corps. A workshop presentation of the first play (The Chinese Labour Corps), funded by Arts Council England, was performed at Blue Orange Theatre in September and streamed across social media. Ian is a prolific author and poet, well-known on the spoken word circuit and an indefatiguable supporter of his fellow wordsmiths.
“Poems of Hope are indeed poems of Hope”, he said. “This is as fine a collection of uplifting verse as you could wish to read.” He presents The Ian Henery Show on Hope Radio which broadcasts online with an OFCOM licence. The station is a new project born out of the COVID-19 pandemic and is run by volunteers. He is Poet in Residence at Hope Radio. Ian has run over 6 series of programmes since 9th May 2020 featuring local poets including running 2 community poems which featured 6 Poet Laureates and 72 poets from all over the world.

The cover photograph of Poems of Hope is The Pillar of Friendship at Coalbrookdale in Shropshire. Within the pillar the panels are the work of sculptors from USA, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Palestine and the UK. “As long as people from nations at conflict can unite in a project of friendship”, said Ian, “there will always be hope”. Ian`s website is http://www.ianhenerypoet.com/

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