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A Message from Jay

Hi everyone, I’m Jay, the new Poet in Residence for St Giles-in-the-Fields,

As a poet I write for all ages, my last book, which came out in June was a hybrid picture book and poem about dragons, written for children aged 4+; my next book, coming out in October, is a Christian poetry collection for adults.

I began my career in poetry performance, winning the UK Youth Poetry Slam and performing in venues as varied as pubs and theatres, to the Roundhouse, and O2 Arena. As an author my biggest hobby is, of course, reading - I’m a particular fan of poetry (obviously) and a short-lived genre of Victorian fiction known as the “Sensation Novel”, which I wrote my dissertation on a few years ago.

My second biggest hobby is “Church Climbing”. It’s like the more common “Church Crawling”, only the aim is to climb all over the usually inaccessible parts of a building - the crypts, towers, inside the roof, on top of the roof. I love churches, and see them as tapestries telling the story of the people who lived, loved, and worshipped in the place, and their changing needs, circumstances, and fortunes. My general love of church buildings and alarming lack of any fear of heights, serves me well as Assistant Churchwarden at my own church, St Nicholas’ in Leicester - a 1142 year old church building in the centre of Leicester, which caters to the specific needs of the LGBT+ community, and in which I was baptised, aged 24, in October 2020, during a small sliver of eased restrictions during the endless Leicester lockdowns.

The collision of my two great loves, poetry and churches, in the role of Poet in Residence for a church, is such a wonderful opportunity, and I am absolutely delighted to be able to share this time with you. I am very much looking forward to seeing what results from this Residency, and hope to foster a love of, and interaction with, poetry, that remains here long after the Residency is over. This is The Poet’s Church, after all!

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