Matthew West is a poet, writer, educator and facilitator based in Southampton. Matt graduated from University of Southampton’s Creative Writing MA programme where he studied Modern poetics and produced two poetry chapbooks, Button Holes and Object to This.
Matt has headlined stages at national festivals including Larmer Tree and has featured as a guest at WOMAD, Secret Garden Party, Cock ‘n’ Bull, and Southampton’s Ejector Seat and SO:FEST. He has also won poetry slams from Winchester to Edinburgh (with few places in between). Matt has also performed as part of the poetic ensemble Alphapoetica for the cultural Olympiad’s A-Z Musical Alphabet and worked with Apples and Snakes on the national youth slam initiative ‘Shake the Dust.’ Matt’s worked for high-profile clients including the National Trust, Hampshire Cultural Trust, and The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, and his latest collection of poems, Seagulls and Spitfires, was commissioned as part of Southampton’s Festival of Words in 2015 and published by Ravenshead Press. His poem ‘Herdwick’ was nominated for the Forward Prize in 2016 by SOUTH magazine. In 2013, Matt was appointed Southampton’s first Poet Laureate for Children.
Hosting regular poetry workshops aimed at creating new audiences and encouraging community participation in the blossoming poetry scene in Southampton, Matt is founding director of ArtfulScribe and artistic director/lead facilitator of the so-write project, a major literature development initiative supported by Mayflower Theatre, John Hansard Gallery, Nuffield Theatre, Southampton Libraries, Southampton Festivals, University of Southampton, Apples and Snakes and Arts Council England. Matt has experience working across age groups and social demographics including schools, hard-to-reach young people, offenders, addicts in recovery and people with neurologically diverse responses. Matt will happily devise bespoke workshops to suit any project according to client brief and specification and can be contacted on 07588 719891