PoGo: Meet the young poets who will represent Nottingham on our new, international, poetry app

Date published: 22 Apr 2021

Posted by: Alma Solarte-Tobón

PoGo app graphic showing the faces of featured young poets

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We are excited to announce the young Notts poets who will be representing the UK on our new poetry app, PoGo. Their poetry will appear on the app alongside work by 30 other young poets from Turkey, Poland, Romania, Germany and Denmark.

Meet the Poets

Our poets responded to a call for submissions launched at Nottingham Poetry Festival 2020. Twenty submitted poems were put to a public vote. Over 200 votes were cast to choose these six poets.

Deanna El Khoury

Photo of Deanna El Khoury

Deanna is 18 and is eager to write professionally in the future. Four of Deanna’s poems were published in Nottingham CAN‘s anthology ‘I Come From A Country Where’, which explores race and immigration in the UK. Recently, Deanna became a Youth Advisory Board member of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature.

I began writing poetry at 13 years old. At that age, much of my writing was inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poetry and the poetry of some of Bollywood’s best music written by lyricists such as Javed Akhtar. Although the writers who inspire me have grown in number since then, Dickinson and Akhtar’s work remain important to me.

Harry Sporton

Photo of Harry Sporton

Harry is a 20-year-old student from Nottingham. He is studying English at University of Leeds. Harry started writing poetry aged 13, after attending a writing residential run by First Story.

Writing poetry has become a huge part of my life. I tend to write about thoughts and feelings that I couldn’t imagine expressing otherwise, which results in either a clearer mind or a sense of catharsis. I have compiled two pamphlets of poetry in the last few years. They represent times in my life when I really struggled and provide me with constant inspiration.

Katherine Monk-Watts

Photo of Katherine Monk-Watts

Katherine is a student, born and raised in Nottingham. She is a Broadway Cinema BFI alumni and a former member of Lace Market Youth Theatre. She is currently finishing an Art & Design Foundation course at Nottingham College. In September 2021, she will start studying Creative Writing at Leeds Arts University. Before lockdown, she was usually seen pottering eagerly around Hockley’s charity shops or moshing at local gigs.

John Cooper Clarke is my (and my Dad’s) favourite poet and a true 70s punk icon. I admire how he combines poetry and music in his work, freely speaks his mind and brings people of all backgrounds together. He has inspired me to write poetry.

Omari Levy-Sterrett

Photo of Omari Levy-Sterrett

Omari is a creative from St Anns in Nottingham. Omari is 22 years old and has been writing rap, poetry and music since the age of 15.

I first started writing little poems in my bedroom to express feelings that I struggled to show through talking. This naturally led into me creating music, which I’ve been surrounded by since knee-high.

Emma Sporton

Photo of Emma Sporton

Emma is a 17-year-old writer and contemporary dancer from Nottingham. Emma has been writing poetry since joining First Story at the age of 13. Emma recently became a Young Ambassador for Nottingham City of Literature.

My writing style can be varied: an expression of my opinions and experiences, or a way to explore how I can play with how words look on the page. I’ve also been dancing since I was 11. I feel that music and dance often influence how I write.

Connor Brown

Photo of Connor Brown

Connor is a 19-year-old writer. He started writing when he was 13 in an after-school club called First Story. To begin with, he did not enjoy writing, and only went because his friends did, but First Story really opened him up to the world of writing.

I mainly write poetry about heartbreak and mental health. I have also written stand-up comedy, comedy sketches, flash fiction and reviews. Most of my biggest writing inspirations come from music. Artists such as Witt Lowry, Mokita and Jack Savoretti inspire me. They have such a poetic way of writing and their words carry so much meaning.

About PoGo

Pogo - Poetry On The Go

PoGo stands for Poetry on the Go. Funded by Erasmus+, the project is a joint effort from six European organisations:

The project will produce an Augmented Reality mobile app. It will bring European poetry to young people in a format that is attractive and engaging. In its library of 78 poems, young people’s poetry will sit alongside classic and contemporary work by professional poets.

The project, and the resulting app, aims to bring together young people across Europe to explore their diversity whilst discovering what unites them.


Introducing our Poetry Committee

City Arts has formed a poetry committee to help make important decisions about the development of the app. They have been an essential part of the projects from the start.

The four young committee members represent City Arts, New Art Exchange, Nottingham City of Literature and Writing East Midlands. They have helped select contemporary and classic poems for the app. They will help us with design of the app, and test it during development.

The group will help organise launch events in Nottingham in 2022. They are:

Casey Soma

Photo of Casey Soma

I’m an artist, poet and film maker from Nottingham. I also run Mad Truth. It is an arts organisation based around the power of creative expression for improving people’s wellbeing and promoting personal growth.

Eleanor McGregor

Photo of Eleanor McGregor

I got involved with the poetry committee through YARD at New Art Exchange, which is a drama group I’ve been going to since I was about nine or ten. I really enjoy reading and writing poetry and thought this looked like a cool thing to be part of (it has been!) At the moment I’m part of planning the third YOUnique festival at New Art Exchange. In my spare time I like watching over-dramatic series that I get way too invested in.

Nidaa Raoof

Photo of Nidaa Raoof

My name is Nidaa and I am a former First Story writer. My work has been published in five anthologies, and I was a Rathbones Folio Prize mentee. I also made an instagram poetry account @worlds_to_come. I write because it’s an escape from the real world and an excellent way to look after mental health.

Connor Brown

Photo of Connor Brown

Connor is a 19-year-old writer. He started writing when he was 13 in an after-school club called First Story. To begin with, he did not enjoy writing, and only went because his friends did, but First Story really opened him up to the world of writing.