|8:30am||Doors open for sightseeing|
|4:00pm||Last entry for sightseeing|
New poetry for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany
For each Sunday from Advent to Epiphany, six exciting young poetic voices and one emerging digital artist reimagine the story of Christmas.
Taking the Biblical text as a starting point, they each retell a story that is both personal and universal, layering it with meaning and peppering it with insight. They bring to life the humans behind a familiar narrative, and enable us to see them, and hopefully ourselves, in a new way.
|The First Sunday in Advent - 3 December|
It is the sixth month of Gabriel’s anxiety dream.
He wakes seconds before & years later,
at Mary’s door. He had known this day
since he began and never known it.
He wakes at the beginning of every mouth in the story.
He wakes in text,
an event of knocking.
Reaching into his future depictions,
he chooses androgyny,
a face recognisable as all faces yet none.
Appear as human.
He crafts muscles.
Burls a heart into a chamber of feathers.
Revising what it means to be messenger,
Gabriel practices knocking in the mirror.
He remembers God appearing to Moses
as fire in the thistle bush.
For this woman who holds the birth of light
at her centre,
he must be as plain as a sentence.
At the door, he knocks with a wing.
How does an angel enter, he thinks.
She opens. In that moment, he sees her timeline pass
and in that, her un-born’s blood on the thistles and in that,
the resurrection and in that, the return.
Do not be afraid Mary, you will give birth to a son.
Even though he has foreseen
& lived this moment through all time,
he finally experiences Mary’s smile.
Let it be with me, just as you say.
How does an angel exit, he thinks.
|The Second Sunday in Advent - 10 December|
by Ankita Saxena
|The Third Sunday in Advent - 17 December|
to Bethlehem the town of David
Jeremiah ‘SugarJ’ Brown is a Croydon based poet. He has performed at a range of venues including the Roundhouse, Southbank Centre, and Birmingham NEC Arena. He is a Barbican Young Poet, a member of Spit The Atom poetry collective and one of the faces of Nationwide’s ‘Voices’ ad campaign. Other commissions include St Paul’s Cathedral and Totally Thames. His poetry has taken him to several festivals including Lovebox, Citadel and Walthamstow Garden Party.
In the beginning my eyes were formless
Maybe we travelled by donkey
Two voices spoke to me,
Abba works in mysterious ways.
The rhythm of our journey went in cycles,
“Augustus means exalted” said the rumble
Strange are the things you hear in the dark.
The things of that empire passed away
|The Fourth Sunday in Advent - 24 December|
Sarah Lasoye is a British-Nigerian poet and writer based in London. She is a former Barbican Young Poet (2015/16), and is currently a member of Octavia poetry collective.
Has anyone noticed how the most told of told stories
Not from wear – as is with most stories,
at its threshold,
at the moment the medium changes
for the sound of this one.
He didn’t cry out,
taut, pressed against the walls,
And when he did, they said the sound of a world without him
I knew that to them he was an unmuted word.
he was their unprobeable answer.
Before he was anyone else’s, was he mine?
I see now.
and I thought he was asking me to catch it
and keep it there.
I was only for him to skim across my surface.
I was not for the sun to fall beneath or behind,
He was to be curled toes, then bleeding, then black, then night,
Only I know that the smallest word, in searching,
so that the wind spins sideways
But so little dexterity is required to bend the back of the story altogether,
So focal it folds neatly in on itself,
A word still. A word all the same.
Holding the word I laboured for.
The story thins in the middle
Not the movement of breath before or after,
So I, in the same way I would a wound that sits inside my cheek,
and move my mouth to imagine his sound.
|The First Sunday of Christmas - 31 December|
Wings and Tings
by Kareem Parkins Brown
|The First Sunday after the Epiphany - 7 January|
The Places Mothers call Home
Tice Cin is a Turkish-Cypriot writer and journalist based in North London. She is currently working on her first novel – a story set in Tottenham and Cyprus that explores the implications of defamiliarising fixed narratives.
Tice recently completed her MA in English: Issues in Modern Culture at UCL, specialising in representations of the female body in posthuman literature. She is currently part of the poetry community, Barbican Young Poets and has had her work commisioned by St Paul's Cathedral previously for their Renaissance Lates and magazines such as Skin Deep Magazine.
She has an Instagram page where she shares her work as it progresses: @ticecinwrites
When he saw their fingers in the stars
They gifted the baby
Then, their dreams ringing with danger,
By way of the sea
Breaking bread beyond Bethlehem
Yet still language hung
Even the rain speaks in riddles.
Bethlehem of Judea.
Look inside the story:
After Herod’s death
Resting near their old home
He took his family to the hills of Galilee
The child tired from his path,