Otis Mensah to become Sheffield’s first poet laureate

One of Sheffield’s brightest talents Otis Mensah will become the first poet laureate of Sheffield with an announcement to be made during this month’s Off The Shelf festival.

The rapper-poet will be appointed the title at the festival (6 – 27 October) by Lord Mayor Magid Magid, who described Otis as “all that is great about Sheffield, he’s dynamic, skilful and radical”. Talking to the BBC, Magid added: “Sheffield has always had a rich history of poetry and what better way to celebrate and support the amazing poetry scene than to appoint a poet laureate.”

Otis Mensah – Thought of the Day (Exposed In Session)

WATCH: Budding poet and rapper Otis Mensah doing what he does best in our latest Exposed session at The Greystones, Sheffield. Film: Renton ProductionsSound: Junior Park Music

Posted by Exposed Magazine on Monday, 9 October 2017

Otis said: “When I found out, I was pleasantly surprised to be asked to take on the role. I found it interesting that an aspiring experimental, hip-hop artist could be considered for such a formal position. I feel the term poetry often creates a certain image in people’s minds, painting the picture of snobbery, under the impression that it’s an elitist, whitewashed art form. But I believe poetry at its core is about communicating imperative messages of emotion.”

Otis will hold the position for two years.

Read more: Otis Mensah on new tunes, being vulnerable and playing with Killah Priest | Right Up Your Street: Otis Mensah on the Sheffield underground scene

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