Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Friern Barnet Honours Young Poetry Star

In an unprecedented move, planners at Friern Barnet Town Council have decided to rename a housing complex after one of Britain's greatest young poets. At the age of 26, Luke Kennard was the youngest poet to be shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. The move by the Barnet Borough district town hall coincides with Luke attaining the ripe old age of 27, to chime with his third collection, The Migraine Hotel.

A spokesperson for Friern Barnet Town Hall was unavailable for comment, but would have said, "We understand that the move may be considered controversial, as most people don't read poetry and won't have heard of Luke, but we want to encourage our residents and visitors to Friern Barnet to view the urban landscape as one big canvas, upon which they, and fellow residents and visitors, are able to create and recreate what they can actually see."

To ensure people passing Kennard Mansions don't miss the importance of the young poet's name to the area's plans for creative nurturing, Barnet Borough Council have insisted on renaming the adjoining street to match the housing estate. As of going to print, Friern Barnet Library, which is just a few streets away, hasn't yet catalogued any copies of The Migraine Hotel, but Chipping Barnet Library does have Kennard's second collection, The Harbour Beyond the Movie, in stock.

We asked a number of residents of Kennard Mansions and Kennard Road for their opinions of the name change. Here's what they said.
"Oh yes, I'm so excited I ran down to the fancy dress shop on the corner of Glenthorne and bought myself a wolf costume. It's great, but it cost me most of my month's pension." Eddie, 88, retired.

"I think it's a lovely idea. The children have never read a poem before, especially not by a poet who died so young. What do you mean he's not dead? You mean some poets are alive...? Oh, they will be disappointed." Margaret, 47, housewife.

"Get out of my dream space, or I'll set the dogs on you." Name not given, early thirties, poet.

"Well, personally I would have gone for a poet that rhymed a bit more, but I've nothing against it, I suppose." Angela, 52, marketing manager.

"This has buggered up my satnav. I'm well pissed off with the council." Gavin, 22, retail assistant.
Finally, Friern Barnet Town Council are undertaking a public survey to inform their plans to replace the nearby JG Ballard installation. Formerly situated on the plot at the end of Kennard Mansions, the installation used to feature a crashed World War Two bomber in a glass maze, surrounded by naked, headless mannikins in provocative poses.

Suggestions so far include: a pile of burning books that never turn to ash; a giant teddy bear with Tony Blair's face and bloody fangs; a sculpture of the Last Supper, featuring a selection of G20 leaders; a children's playground with no right angles or children, the bare swings frozen at acute angles; a pyramid of live grenades surrounded by 'Danger of Death' signs.

So have your say now! Put your comments in the space below, as to what you'd like to see replace the former installation.

Luke Kennard's third collection, The Migraine Hotel, is out this week as part of the Salt Modern Poets series. This is the only actual fact in this article, except for the existence of Kennard Mansions and Kennard Road, in Friern Barnet.


Jane Holland said...

You wicked, wicked, wicked boys ...

Love it!!


Holly said...

You really cheered me up guys. And I think the playground without right angles and no children is a superb idea, as the appearance of children in my local playgrounds always makes me feel guilty about hogging the swings.

Kathryn Gray said...


Anonymous said...

Excellent propoganda! Nice work :D

Michelle said...

Lovely stuff!