A new poem which celebrates the town of Nelson has been unveiled in the town centre as part of World Poetry Day. 

'This is Nelson', the arts and culture strand of the Nelson Town Deal, commissioned the work as part of PRINT, which is aiming to capture the seasonal life of Nelson’s town centre through large-scale colourful graphics across windows in the town. 

World Poetry Day was on Thursday (March 21) and the work is by poet Ajaz Qureshi. Ajaz is a teacher and artist who writes about the intersections of culture and heritage, place and community and individual and plural identity. 

Programme and Practice, In-Situ, Calum Byrne said:  "One of the things uncovered in our discussions with people living in Nelson is the desire for new art to be easily accessible by all. 

"PRINT is a strand of our work which will animate public spaces around the town, brightening up walls and windows with art that reflects the people and place of Nelson. 

"We're delighted that Ajaz's poem in the library windows will do just that - it is a great start to the project and doing this with the support of the library and Nelson Town Council on World Poetry Day has been the perfect match." 

The poem is part of a larger collection of poems written in and inspired by the town, all created by local poet Ajaz Qureshi. 

Lancashire Telegraph:

Asking questions about his hometown, Ajaz’s work for This is Nelson considers the ‘voice’ of a post-industrial Nelson.

He looks at who such a voice might belong to; the relevance of the canal, once it’s lifeblood, and whether the mills still keep the town alive.  

He said: "Moving back to Nelson as a writer allowed me to reconnect to my hometown in a new way.

"Nelson is not only a place steeped in a complex industrial history but a place with a living present, with numerous voices and stories waiting to be heard.
"Over the last two years, as a resident, I've experienced the transformative power that storytelling, engagement, and action have had in shaping my individual and cultural ties to Nelson.

"More than a geographical connection, too, but a sense of community, duty, and belonging to the place I call home.” 

One of his poems, The Weaving Shuttle, has been selected and is now printed in full in a large-scale installation outside Nelson Library, which was unveiled along with a book of his poetry produced by Pendle Press.

Ajaz added: “The opportunity to produce a large-scale poetic display in Nelson Town Centre and a poetry pamphlet further underscores just how much poetry (art) can inform and impact a real-world place, and, indeed, perceptions of it. 

"I look forward to seeing the effect of these poems on the town in the coming months.

The event and installation are taking place thanks to Nelson Library, Lancashire Cultural Services, Lancashire Libraries and Lancashire County Council.