Poetry in motion at new library site

Talented teen Joel Duncan, Calderdale’s Young Poet Laureate, has penned a poem inspired by Calderdale Council’s exciting project to build the new Central Library and Archive in Halifax.

Joel, age 19 from Halifax, was eager to visit the construction site to see the new library taking shape. With thoughts of the striking building, state of the art facilities and world of knowledge to come, he took inspiration for his latest masterpiece.

The young wordsmith was joined by Gez Walsh, Calderdale’s adult Poet Laureate and renowned writer and children’s poet. Gez is mentoring Joel after the Council crowned the teen Calderdale’s first ever Young Poet Laureate last October. The talented pair are working together to promote poetry and the arts across Calderdale, visiting libraries and schools to encourage others to share their passion for reading and writing poetry.

Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr Stephen Baines, said:

“The new library will be a wonderful place where people of all ages can learn, relax and enjoy Calderdale’s heritage. It might even shape the local poet laureates of the future. We’re really excited that work is underway, and it’s fantastic that Joel was inspired by such an important part of the borough’s future when writing his new poem. He is very talented.”

The new Central Library and Archive will combine old and new architecture by incorporating the remains of the Square Church, including the Grade II listed spire and rose window. Inside, a world of knowledge will be made available through state of the art facilities. The new library and archive, along with the transformed Piece Hall, is expected to be open in spring 2016. For more information visit the new library page on the Council’s website.

Calderdale’s Young Poet Laureate, Joel Duncan, said:

“Seeing history in rubble always sparks my imagination, especially when it’s the remains of a building in the heart of my hometown. The poem Libraryology dares us to look things up, question things when we know they don’t exist and maybe even make things exist. I think the new library being located next to the Piece Hall will give people of all ages access to a modern day reading experience whilst staring at a building that is being developed to stand the test of time.” 

Calderdale’s adult Poet Laureate, Gez Walsh, added:

“Working with Joel has been such a pleasure. Sometimes I do wonder who is mentoring who? He is both passionate and totally professional about his art, and keen to pass on his talents to others, I am learning quite a lot from his approach to writing! The new library will not only be a functional, but in my opinion a beautiful building when complete. The way it seamlessly blends between the old church and the Piece Hall is a wonderful way to bring both the library and the Piece Hall to life and make them the central focal point of Halifax town centre.”

To win the prestigious title of Calderdale’s Young Poet Laureate, youngsters had to write a piece of poetry or prose on the theme of ‘my favourite thing about Calderdale’. There was stiff competition, and the Mayor of Calderdale, Cllr Pat Allen, awarded the winner at a special ceremony at the Town Hall on National Poetry Day, 2 October 2014. The role includes writing poems to celebrate special events in Calderdale, performing poetry at literary events, attending official Council functions and community events, and having work exhibited in and around Calderdale.

Joel Duncan’s new poem:


Look that word up in the dictionary,

I dare you.

You know it will be playing hide and seek

amid the paper pages of the present.

Words are viruses infecting us.

We catch it by listening to others

speaking the words they have heard from

somebody else.

We pull language from our knowledge backpacks

when it suits a purpose.

Libraryology is just a baby I gave birth to

so it suited mine…


Snap my word in two,

I dare you.


The definition of library is a room containing

cupid’s family that shoot arrows at your heart

every time you pick up a book.

Library – that place you enter someone else’s


Library – a building that shelves dead people’s

lives which you can revive just by

reading the first page.

Ology – a subject of study,

a branch of knowledge in your forest of interests.


Define Libraryology,

I dare you.

The study of writers becoming immortal.

The study of the fight between books and technology.

The study of why you can never get them library books

back on time.

Words come and go.

But they make us who we are today.

Libraryology – the study of how people die

but their words live on.

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