Organisers of a regular spoken word and poetry night are preparing for their next event.

King Ink meet monthly at Pop Recs on High Street West, Sunderland, every second Thursday of the month and their next event is on Thursday, September 8 from 6pm to 9pm.

Event host Helen Wilkinson said: “We relaunched the group earlier this year and it’s grown over the last few months.

“The night was founded several years ago by poets Patrick Shannon and Brian Anderson.

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“Patrick passed away during the pandemic, and it was important to him and to the rest of us that King Ink continue. The renewed success of the night is a testament to Patrick’s passion for Sunderland’s live poetry scene.

“Occasionally we’ll get guest speakers and we’ll attract a larger crowd – in July we had Jessica Andrews, author of the acclaimed novel Milk Teeth, and the evening was really well attended.

“For our regular nights, we have people who come just to listen, but most come to perform spoken word or poetry. It’s very informal; you can sign up for the open mic on the night.

“Our performers are aged anywhere between 18 and 80, and occupations range from professional writers and artists to teachers and window cleaners - we’ve even had a chimney sweep perform for us.

“People write about the things that matter to them: the places they come from, their work, the environment, music, people, politics.”

The King Ink evenings are free, but attendees are encouraged to donate a pound to help cover Pop Recs’ overheads.

The Northern Echo: Ian Rowan performs at a previous King Ink nightIan Rowan performs at a previous King Ink night

Helen, Head of English at a local secondary school, added: “We’ve just produced our first zine with the help of Sunderland-based writer James Whitman. It features art from Kathryn Robertson, who designed the new logo. We’re also going to launch a podcast soon.

“People can just turn up on the night, and they’re assured of a welcoming atmosphere for new performers.

“We have a huge range of performances – from longer pieces of work to haiku. As well as a growing core of regulars, we’re also making connections with similar groups on Wearside and beyond.”

King Ink was recently awarded £350 from The Cultural Spring’s Your Art Community Commissioning programme which has helped the group promote itself and its spoken word/poetry evenings and make their events more accessible.

To find out more, go to King Ink’s Facebook page at King Ink Spoken Word, or follow their Twitter account at Twitter: @King_Ink_Poets or Instagram @king_ink_spoken_word

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