British Poetry and Class

British Poetry and Class is a discursive project, designed to broaden the conversations taking place surrounding class within British poetry. Through a variety of public facing activities, the series aims to engage with working-class poets across the UK – providing a platform for often overlooked conversations regarding class to take place. The project will launch with a series of five interviews, each interrogating the nuances of working-class identity in contemporary Britain – examining the creative difficulties, and structural inequalities, experienced by working-class poets.

British Poetry and Class was inspired by Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries, a report published in 2018 which identified a vacuum of working-class voices in Britain’s cultural spaces. One of the major challenges highlighted within the report was that ‘people from upper middle class origins are overrepresented in many creative occupations’, with ‘only about an eighth [of publishing staff] originating from [the] working class’ – a figure with clear implications for British poetry.

While the UK has an extensive history of working-class poetry, a platform for this work has on occasion been difficult to achieve – with cultural gatekeepers often de-legitimising, or fetishising, working-class identity. This series will work to create a safe space for working-class poets to discuss the realities of their lives, advocating for a more thoughtful and sympathetic reading of class in poetry today.

Anthony Anaxagorou
An interview with Wayne Holloway-Smith An interview with Rachael Allen An interview with Anthony Anaxagorou