An interview with a poet

To celebrate 30 years of Erasmus+, we asked Sophie McKeand to do what she does best and capture the Erasmus+ spirit in a poem.

Who is Sophie McKeand?

Sophie McKeandSophie McKeand is an award-winning poet, TEDx speaker and the current Young People’s Laureate for Wales. Her poetry has been widely published and she has performed extensively across the UK at events such as Hay Festival, Gwyl Arall and Festival No6.

Sophie has facilitated workshops for organisations such as Literature Wales, Arts Council Wales, Oriel Wrecsam, Age Cymru and Barnardos with a focus on working with marginalised groups in society.

This year her poetry also took her to the Kolkata Literature Festival in India. 

Celebrating 30 years

We decided a poem would be a creative way to capture the life-changing experiences, stories and moments that we so often hear from Erasmus+ beneficiaries and participants.

Sophie grasped the brief with both hands and delved deep into the world of Erasmus+, interviewing beneficiaries from all over the UK in her quest to capture that 'Erasmus+ effect' in poetry.

Before revealing the poem, we asked Sophie to reflect on the creative process that went into writing it and share with us what she learned along the way.

Keep an eye out for Bonnie the dog, who makes a special guest appearance during the interview.

Putting a poet on the spot

To start, we asked Sophie how much she knew about Erasmus+ before being commissioned to write this poem.

As we knew Sophie had done a lot of research before starting, we were keen to know what in particular had inspired her while she was writing. 

After talking to beneficiaries from various organisations around the UK, we wanted to know what Sophie had learnt about the programme.

Sophie shared a bit more about the poem, giving us a small taster of the ideas that feature and where they came from.

We were also interested to know, from a poet's perspective, why poetry is a good way to celebrate an event such as the 30th anniversary of Erasmus+. 

As part of the 30th anniversary, we have been collecting messages from participants, beneficiaries and other people linked to the Erasmus+ programme. Sophie shares her message with us in the video below.

You can now watch the recording of Sophie performing live at our Annual Conference:

We also have a copy of the 'Sunlight' poem (2.7 MB) available to download.

To find out more about the 30th anniversary of Erasmus+, take a look at our 2017 round-up.

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