Birmingham Poet Laureate hits the heights

Poetry in the Penthouse launches at the Rotunda.

Poetry reached new heights on Sunday, January 6th when Birmingham’s Poet Laureate, Richard O’Brien, led a reading in a five star penthouse twenty floors above the city.

Richard was joined at Sunday’s event by fellow poets Isobel Galleymore, whose first collection will be published in the spring, Roz Goddard, a former Birmingham Poet Laureate and Aliyah Begum, the current Birmingham Young Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate scheme is a project of Birmingham Libraries.

The Poetry in the Penthouse event was the culmination of a week spent by Richard O’Brien as Writer in Residence for Staying Cool at the Rotunda. The company has 35 serviced apartments in the iconic Rotunda building. Staying Cool made a one-bedroom Clubman apartment available to Richard as part of its Creative Heights programme, which marks ten years for the company at the iconic Rotunda skyscraper and celebrates the creativity of Birmingham.

Jonathan Davidson, Chief Executive of Writing West Midlands, who co-hosted the event said, “Poetry in the Penthouse was a really enjoyable occasion with an invited audience of twenty keen poetry fans in a unique location. It was the perfect way to mark the end of Richard’s residency.”

Richard wrote several poems while he was staying in house with Staying Cool including Beorma, which was inspired by the founding of Birmingham.

He commented, “Staying for a week as writer in residence at the Rotunda has been a remarkable experience. Even when you think you know a city, the shift in perspective viewing it all from the eighteenth floor, above the towers and trains, has been unbelievable. I’m so pleased to have been able to kick off my time as Birmingham Poet Laureate with such a panoramic view of life in the city for inspiration.”