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Poetry reached new heights on Sunday. Birmingham’s Poet Laureate, Richard O’Brien, led a reading in one of our 5* penthouses on the 20th floor of Rotunda.

Richard was joined at Sunday’s event by three 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.

Richard O'Brien, Birmingham's poet laureate, reads at Poetry in the Penthouse
Richard O’Brien
Isobel Galleymore reads at Poetry in the Penthouse
Isobel Galleymore
Roz Goddard reads at Poetry in the Penthouse
Roz Goddard
Aliyah Begum, Birmingham's Young Poet Laureate, reads at Poetry in the Penthouse
Aliyah Begum

The ‘Poetry in the Penthouse’ event was the culmination of a week spent by Richard O’Brien as our Writer in Residence. Richard stayed in a Clubman apartment as part of our Creative Heights programme. Creative Heights marks ten years for us at the Rotunda.  

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

Richard wrote several poems while he was staying with Staying Cool/ These included ‘Beorma’, inspired by the founding of Birmingham:

The poem Beorma by Richard O'Brien, which he read at Poetry in The Penthouse

Richard O’Brien said, “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.

Grand central and Bullring Birmingham looking down from Rotunda by Pete Horrox
Images courtesy of Pete Horrox