Barnsley appoints Ian McMillan as Poet in Lockdown
The Bard of Barnsley, Ian McMillan, has a new post in his home town. Barnsley Museums has appointed the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s The Verb as its Poet in Lockdown, with the job of inspiring others to write about their experiences of staying safe at home – not just poets from Barnsley, but from across the country, “from Lands End to John O’Groats”.
McMIllan is also creating a series of sonnets in response to the current crisis. He has stepped in for Barnsley’s current poet laureate, Eloise Unerman, who is working hard with her NHS colleagues.
His first sonnet – about the virus, but also, inevitably, about Barnsley FC - was broadcast digitally on Good Friday, with others at the same time of 8pm over the Easter weekend. From 21 April, his work will be published every Tuesday and Thursday night, also at 8pm. In an interview about the project he talked about how moving it was to see people queueing outside supermarkets, standing two metres apart.
McMillan is famous for his early-morning walks around Barnsley, and his observations around that time, which he often turns into inspiring messages on Twitter.