Calling all wordsmiths and poetry lovers.
Get ready for a plethora of poems and a feast of fun at the second Swindon Poetry Festival which kicks off on National Poetry Day on 3 October, and runs for four days with over 20 events until 6 October.
Renowned poets taking part include Radio 4’s presenter of Poetry Please, Roger McGough (Wyvern Theatre 4 October) and prize-winning Olympics wordsmith Alice Oswald (Swindon Arts Centre 5 October).
Aimed at all ages and tastes, the festival is organised by Michael Scott, Hilda Sheehan and Matt Holland, whose unending enthusiasm for the written word put Swindon on the UK’s cultural heritage map with 25 years of Literature Festivals.
Matt said: “Last year people came out in droves for poetry in Swindon. We have prize-winning poets, enthusiastic readers and lovers of literature and we’re keen to embrace an even wider audience for poetry. The second Festival of Poetry is an exciting development."
BBC Radio Wiltshire’s Mark O’Donnell attended the launch event at The Arts Centre with 50 enthusiasts. Mark says “The first thing I ever learned to read was a poem, and poetry has been with me at every important moment of my life – every wedding, every funeral, the birth of all of my children.
"Poetry surrounds us, and I’m delighted that the Festival of Poetry is being held again this year and I hope it will inspire more people to forget what they were taught at school and come and listen to poetry for the sheer joy of hearing beautiful words.”
The Festival showcases Swindon’s home-grown talent with results of the nationally-known Battered Moons Poetry Competition. Poetry workshops and surgeries are available at venues including the Arts Centre, Wyvern Theatre, Central Library, Artsite Gallery, the Platform and Lower Shaw Farm.
“Although most poets won’t get rich through publishing, sharing their passion for words enriches everyone’s lives. We have a marvellous heritage and it’s great to see poetry flourishing on our doorstep,” comments Rhona Jack, a local poet published in several anthologies.
Finally, an “M4 Corridor Poetry Day” features fascinating poets from Llanelli to London with contributions from Cardiff, Bristol, Bath, Swindon, Oxford, Newbury, Reading, and Slough.
See www.swindonfestivalofpoetry.co.uk or call 01793 771080.
Pictured at the Festival launch on 5 September, top, from left, Michael Scott, Hilda Sheehan, Matt Holland, Carla Rigotti, Mark O’Donell. Centre, Hilda Sheehan. Bottom, Matt Holland. Photos: Richard Wintle www.calyxpix.com
Last few days to enter the SN140Poem competition. Win cash prizes for poetry in 140 characters or less. Closing date 16 September. Click for details
Swindon’s second Festival of Poetry Thursday 3 October to Tuesday 6 October
Thursday 3 October
10am – 11am: Poems Aloud! Hosted by Hilda Sheehan. Central Library • Free
12.30 – 1.30pm: A Poetry-Packed Lunch with Roddy Lumsden. The Studio, Arts Centre • £5 (£4)
2pm – 3pm: Separate Ways: anthology readings with BlueGate Poets and Tamar Yoseloff. Museum & Art Gallery • Free
7pm till late: BlueGate Open Mic – with Pindrop Press poets Cherry Smyth and Emer Gillespie, plus Jo Hemmant. Lower Shaw Farm • £5 (£3)
Friday 4 October
10.30am onwards: Poetry Surgeries with Angela France. Railway Carriage, The Platform • Tel 01793 466454 • £15
11am – 4pm: Up the Junctions! A metaphorical day trip of poems and places along the M4 corridor. The Platform • One event £6.20 or all day for £12.40, come and go as you please.
Natalie Holborrow, Stephen Payne, Rosemary Dun. Carrie Etter, Claire Crowther, Dikra Ridha, Rosa Matheson and the International Women of Swindon, Alan Buckley, Josephine Corcoran, Angela France, Susan Utting, Ian House, Anna-May Laugher, Adrian Blamires, Susan Roberts, Edward Mackay, Jaqueline Saphra, Lesley Saunders and Liza Wedgwood.
7.30pm: Roger McGough – As Far As I Know. Wyvern Theatre • £12 (£10)
Saturday 5 October
11am – 11.30am: Poetry Rhyme Time with Hilda Sheehan. Central Library • Free
10am – 12noon: Vintage Bus Tour: the joys of Swindon, with surprises and guests along the way. Departs from The Sun Inn, Coate, Swindon, Wiltshire SN3 6AA. Tel 01793 466454 • £10
12.30pm – 1.30pm: A Wood Magic Story Walk, with Hilda Sheehan. Richard Jefferies Museum, Coate SN3 6AA. Tel (01793) 466561 • Free
4pm – 5pm: Having a cake with you, and Angela Kirby. The Studio, Arts Centre • £5 (£4)
6pm – 7pm The Son of Shoemaker – exhibition, private view, and reading with Linda Black. Landing Gallery, Arts Centre • Free
7.30pm: Alice Oswald, Cristina Newton and the Battered Moons Poetry Competition – an evening of poetry, prizes. Arts Centre • £10 (£8)
Sunday 6 October
10am – 12.30pm: Working with Collage – a workshop with Linda Black. The Studio, Arts Centre • £20
1pm – 2pm: Spiritual Poetry – faith, healing, and inspirational poems. Presented in association with BlueGate Poets. Richard Jefferies Museum • £4 (£3)
1.30pm – 3.30pm: Bardwell O’Neill are Game! Broadgreen Community Centre • £3 per family
2pm: Byron Beloved – a play that tells the story of England’s most infamous poet, his loves, his losses, and his ultimate banishment. Arts Centre • £8 (£7)
Double ticket for Byron Beloved and Considering Kipling • £10
4pm – 5pm: Considering Kipling – with John Chambers. The Studio, Arts Centre • £5 (£4)
7.30pm: Festival Finale – a last night of delights, including poems to make you think, feel, laugh, and drink, and music to match. Kim Moore, Claire Trévien, Elvis McGonagall, Aidan Sheehan, The Very Grimm Brothers. Arts Centre • £10 (£8)