Polish-born Dr Bohdan Piasecki, who is an Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at the College of Arts and Law, won the inaugural ‘Best Single Poem – Performed’ category at in the Forward prizes for poetry with his poem, ‘Almost Certainly’, that powerfully explores Polish and British communities.
The renowned poet, Chris Redmond, who sat on the judging panel, described Bodhan’s poem as “moving and meticulously crafted, his performance of it is electric. It’s a great example of how many things come into play for ‘performance poetry’ to be more than a recitation. It’s the combination of physical and emotional presence, connection with the audience, command over voice, pace, dynamic range, and sensitivity at all times, to the poem itself.”
Bohdan founded the first poetry slam competition in Poland before moving to the UK to pursue his academic career, working as director of education at Goldsmiths University prior to joining the University of Birmingham in 2022.
A committed performer, he has wowed audiences with his poetry at festivals and spoken word events across the world, as well as made regular appearances on poetry podcasts and BBC radio. He is also a creative producer and sits on the board of the Poetry Translation Centre.
Dr Richard Langley, the Head of Film and Creative Writing at the College of Arts and Law, said:
“We are extremely proud of Bohdan, his poem and its performance for receiving this award, although not entirely surprised. The electric powers of creativity and performance it recognizes are the same qualities we – staff and students – are fortunate enough to see every day in Bohdan’s work as an educator. He brings the same dynamic energy to every class he teaches, helping to make the department the most exciting place to study creative writing in the country. So, many congratulations to Bohdan – we’re so pleased and proud that the world now knows what we already knew!”
Portrait photo credit: Paul Stringer