THE world’s first door to door poet is stepping over the threshold to take up a residency at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word.

Rowan McCabe has received national acclaim for his work, which often involves knocking on doors, chatting to householders and then writing a poem, which he performs free of charge on their doorsteps.

Now he will bring his uniquely personal approach to the post of Poet in Residence at the South Shields venue in the run up to its annual WRITE Festival in May.

It is a welcome homecoming for Rowan, who was born and raised in the area and has performed at poetry festivals across the UK, won The Great Northern Slam in 2015 and was recently commissioned to write a new poem by Radio 3’s The Verb.

And during his residency he will explore the idea of what South Shields means to residents by talking to as many people as possible, visiting local landmarks and areas and recording his experience of time spent in the town.

He will also work with a local historian to give him a better understanding of the history of the area and how it has changed over the years.

As his residency draws to a close, he will create seven poems, based on South Shields landmarks uncovered through his experiences and the stories he has heard throughout his journey.

The poems will use a selection of words from the Word Bank of Lost Dialects, donated by visitors to The Word. They will then be filmed and screened inside the venue’s Word Bank of Lost Dialects exhibition until 15 September.

“I’m really interested in the idea of trying to capture what South Shields really means, in a way that resonates with local people,” said Rowan. “To make it stand as a monument to what people actually feel and connect with.”

Tania Robinson, Head of Culture at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, said she is delighted that Rowan, “who is without a doubt a rising star in poetry and performance,” has accepted the residency.

“I first heard him on the radio,” she said, “and I just thought, ‘we have to see if we can persuade him to come to The Word.’

“He captures people’s thoughts and lives with such a lightness of touch,” she said, “and there is an empathy and energy in his work that just really makes it stand out.” |

Rowan will be at The Word on Friday, 15 February from 10am to 1pm for anyone wanting to share their thoughts and experiences.

He can also be contacted directly through Twitter @RowanMcCabe or Facebook @RowanMcCabePoet and more information about him and his work can be found at

For more information about exhibitions and events at The Word visit and