(1974 - Present)
Degna Stone is a poet and editor who grew up in England’s Midlands. She wrote poetry as a teen before putting it aside for many years, during which she began an undergraduate degree in fashion and textile design, moved to North East England, and started a family with her husband. She rediscovered poetry after the birth of her first child. Stone then redirected her energies into writing, becoming a fixture in the North East’s spoken word poetry scene and earning an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University.
Stone’s poetry embraces a broad range of subject matter, examining vital topics like identity, race, class, and body with what Andrew McMillan calls “a pure distillation of language where no word is wasted.” She is the author of four poetry pamphlets: Between the Floorboards (ID on Tyne Press, 2010), Record and Play (Red Squirrel Press, 2014), Handling Stolen Goods (Peepal Tree Press, 2019), and Weighing of the Heart (Blueprint, 2021). Her writing has also appeared in nearly a dozen anthologies, including Ten: Poets of the New Generation (Bloodaxe, 2017), Filigree: Contemporary Black British Poetry (Peepal Tree Press, 2018), and More Fiya: A New Collection of Black British Poetry (Canongate, 2022). Stone also performs widely, with appearances at Durham Book Festival, Newcastle Poetry Festival, StAnza International Poetry Festival, Stoke Literary Festival, Leeds Lit Festival, and BBC Radio 3’s The Verb.
Stone is renowned as a force in arts development and community-building through her work as an editor, teacher, and arts administrator. She has been a contributing editor at The Rialto since 2016. She co-founded poetry magazine Butcher’s Dog and served as its managing editor from 2012 through 2017, and she edited the online anthology Deeseeded from 2011 to 2015. She has also been a Poetry Book Society pamphlet selector. Stone worked in the literary department at Live Theatre, Newcastle, for 12 years before taking on the three-year role of Enabler for Slate: Black · Arts · World, Eclipse Theatre's innovative artist development program. Additionally, she has served as an associate artist at D6: Culture in Transit and Renaissance One and has guided creative writing workshops and courses with Apples and Snakes, English PEN, the Poetry School, and New Writing North.
Stone is the recipient of a Northern Promise Award, a Northern Writers' Award, and a Hawthornden Fellowship. She is a fellow of The Complete Works III, Obsidian Foundation, and the Peepal Tree/Inscribe writer development program. Stone collaborates with artists and institutions across genres to create multi-disciplinary work, including Folkworks’s 2018 new music and spoken word project Backbone of Our Land. Currently, Stone is an associate artist with the Poetry Exchange and serves as a trustee on the board of New Writing North and a critical friend to the Curious Arts board of trustees. She is pursuing a PhD in Cultural Studies at Northumbria University. Stone lives on the River Tyne with her husband and two teenagers.
More Degna Stone
Photo by Matthew Thompson.