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“The ocean is like God and raindrops are the religion. When they fall into the ocean they become one.”
Zoya Ahmed and Nurun Uddin

Lichfield Cathedral
'The Word' Poetry Project

Lichfield Cathedral was founded in AD 700, one of the earliest in the UK and a religious site of great importance. We serve the fifth largest diocese in England, a diverse community incorporating towns and cities such as Tamworth and Stoke-on-Trent, as well as rurally isolated communities.

Our Strategic Vision 2014-2023 sets out one of our key roles as ‘nurturing Christian faith, worship and understanding through learning, exhibitions, events and interpretation of the Cathedral’ as well as to be 'a place of education and exploration for all ages'.

Benjamin Zephaniah 
With the support of Westhill Endowment, Lichfield Cathedral is undertaking its first mass-participation poetry competition, working directly with schools and communities across our diocese to write poems on the themes of ‘awe and wonder’ and ‘light in our darkness’. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and we are using this opportunity to engage with people on the important theological questions about creation, cosmology and care for the Earth which astronomical discoveries over the last 50 years have stimulated. With this as a guide, people have been submitting their poems showcasing creativity and using new and exciting poetic forms.

Many sacred texts come in the form of verse, and poetry has been the necessary medium for hymns and for sacred song. This is why we have chosen to encourage expression through poetry. This project will also enable us to diversify our arts outreach to schools and communities into new forms of art, such as the written word. Previously (with the support of Westhill Endowment) we have focused on the creation of art installations.


The closing date for entries was October 3rd, National Poetry Day, with judging now commencing and winners to be announced in four age categories. On November 28th there will be a prize-giving event at the Cathedral as part of our first poetry festival. The festival will also feature poetry readings and workshops with well-known poets, such as Benjamin Zephaniah, Rachel Mann, and Michael Symmons Roberts. Winning and shortlisted poems will be exhibited inside the Cathedral during Advent and Christmas this year. 


Visit our website at to find out more.