Blood: An insight into World War 1 by Lemn Sissay

Internationally celebrated poet, Lemn Sissay, in partnership with young people from Derry – Londonderry will create a new poetry commission called BLOOD commemorating and reflecting upon the centenary of the First World War.  BLOOD is a co-commission between the Verbal Arts Centre and 14-18 NOW.

Picture for blog story Blood: An insight into World War 1 by Lemn Sissay

14-18 NOW is a major cultural programme taking place across the UK to mark the centenary of the First World War. Working with cultural organisations across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, 14-18 NOW commissions large-scale special projects. These are selected to encourage people from every community to reflect on how the First World War has shaped today's world and our attitudes to conflict now.

Lemn Sissay will be in Derry –Londonderry for an extended residency during this summer to work with young people from across the city, analysing and reflecting on WW1 and its influence on the present. The creative output of these sessions will determine the final piece which will be a special and unique collaborative artwork that will represent the voice, character and personality of the City.

Speaking at the project launch, Verbal’s James Kerr explained that the strong artistic partnership between 14-18 NOW and Verbal is an exciting new development: “BLOOD is a direct legacy of Lemn’s visit to the VAC last year as part of our yearlong literary programme called Disobey Gravity for the City of Culture.  This new project will see the young people of the city work closely with Lemn to create a piece of work which is guided and shaped through their participation. Lemn’s enthusiasm, dynamism and generosity of spirit will make this an unforgettable experience for all those involved.  I am delighted that Verbal is working with the creative powerhouse that is 14-18 NOW as it is an important part of the east- west conversation with which the Verbal is continuously engaged.”

Lemn Sissay is associate artist at Southbank Centre, patron of The Letterbox Club and The Reader Organisation, ambassador for The Children's Reading Fund, trustee of Forward Arts Foundation and inaugural trustee of World Book Night and an honorary doctor of Letters.

Video: Lemn Sissay at the Verbal Arts Centre

For further information about 14-18 NOW and commissioned events visit:

Project Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.​

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