Poets

Sky Hawkins

(1972 - Present)

Sky Hawkins, also known as The Word Bird, is an award-winning dyslexic poet and performer. Her estranged father was part of the Beat poetry scene of the 1960s, while her mother was an alcoholic with severe mental illness. Raised in the UK’s care system, Hawkins began writing poetry in her teens. She found early success as a single parent living on a council estate. Hawkins soon became one of the most prominent performance poets in North East England.

Hawkins has headlined events across the North East, won numerous slams, and led cross-platform collaborations with other artists. She has been facilitating and teaching creative writing programs for diverse groups and audiences since 2010. Over her varied career, she has developed specialities in both youth and community practice, with a focus on working with disenfranchised youth. Hawkins has been commissioned by Apples and Snakes, New Writing North, Chilli Studios, and many other institutions including schools, book festivals, arts organizations, and libraries.

Hawkins, a recipient of Arts Award training, was selected as the English National Youth Arts Network North East Regional Youth Arts Champion in 2010. She has been published with various magazines and small presses, such as The Northern Correspondent, The Black Light Engine Room Press, and Diamond Twigs. Most recently, she was published by the British Library and Poet in The City for their 2021 Collections in Verse project. Her book And, Just Like That, the Whole World Changed was published in 2021; a journal-style collection of haiku, it features drawings and reflects Hawkins’ feelings and thoughts about the pandemic. Hawkins currently lives in Gateshead in North East England.

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More Sky Hawkins

Audio: Hawkins reads haiku for the Poetry and Covid project

Video: A talk on editing by Hawkins for the Poetry Book Society

Text: "At the Children's Home" by Hawkins at Diamond Twigs

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Photo by Matthew Thompson.