Leigh poet’s Manchester mural

Poet Lemn Sissay, who grew up with a foster family in Atherton, at the unveiling of his new mural poem in Manchester
Poet Lemn Sissay, who grew up with a foster family in Atherton, at the unveiling of his new mural poem in Manchester
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A RENOWNED poet who grew up in Leigh has unveiled a new mural poem in the centre of Manchester.

Lemn Sissay had his poem Let There Be Peace painted on a wall at the University of Manchester.

The 15-metre tall poem, which celebrates the virtues of peace and quiet, has been painted on to an atrium at the university, where it will be seen by many students and staff.

The mural is one of Lemn’s series of Landmark Poems, which adorn open spaces across the city of Manchester. He has been working on the series since the 1990s when the first landmark poem, Hardy’s Well, appeared on the side of the pub of the same name in Chorlton.

The series also includes poems commissioned by The City of London and The Royal Festival Hall, and is writing for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Lemn said: “Let There Be Peace stands with my Landmark Poems as testament to the creativity and pride of a world class city with a world class university.”

Lemn, the son of Ethiopian and Eritrean parents, was fostered and brought up by a white family in Atherton until he was 11, when he was put into a children’s home.

These unhappy experiences in Wigan have informed much of his literary output, which includes poetry collections, street murals and plays, and his work as an activist for children’s rights.