Scheme run with poets Sandeep Parmar and Sarah Howe aims to address shortage of BAME voices in writing about poetry
Ledbury Poetry Festival and poets Sandeep Parmar and Sarah Howe are launching Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics, an eight-month mentorship programme aimed at supporting emerging critical voices from BAME backgrounds and encouraging diversity in poetry reviewing.
Recent statistics compiled by blogger critic Dave Coates show that only 4.3% of reviewers and 8.1% of poets appearing in broadsheets or other publication were from BAME backgrounds.
Sarah Howe said: "At present the work of minority poets who have triumphed over the hurdles and made it into print is then too often met by silence in a predominantly white critical culture not yet well equipped to read such writing. By nurturing a new wave of critics of colour and offering them a platform, we hope to kick off a wider conversation about race within the culture of reviewing, interrogating and expanding its terms. I can think of nothing more timely."
There are eight places on the scheme, which offers each successful applicant a poetry critic mentor, as well as places at residential workshops.
Applicants should send covering letters and sample reviews of recent poetry collections, pamphlets or live performances, by Friday 20 October.