The fifth year of the Poetry Swindon Festival begins on 29 September, with a raft of poetic literature events that will whet your artistic appetites happening throughout Swindon.
2016 is the 100th anniversary of Dada, the short-lived but influential ‘nonsense’ art movement which spawned surrealism, Salvador Dali, Monty Python and Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.
“Poetry Swindon likes its poetry a little off-kilter – quite a lot off-kilter,” said festival director Hilda Sheehan, “so something anti-meaning, and silly with a serious message is what Poetry Swindon is all about.”
This is the 5th year for the festival after being created as an offspring of the Swindon Literature Festival, and has proved so popular that it has been increased from 5 days to 11 days long. The festivities are split into two parts, beginning with the community festival and finishing with the Big Poetry Weekend which coincides with National Poetry Day. Both feature a multitude of events across Swindon taking place at the Richard Jefferies Museum, Savernake Street Hall and Swindon Arts Centre.
Poetry Swindon celebrates with a day of Dada – creating Dada-esque anti-verse and with an opportunity to perform it – on 1 October.
Then, just for women, American poet Carrie Etter will lead an erotic poetry workshop on 7 October.
On 3 October, the Spitfire – once made in Swindon 75 years ago for the second world war – is celebrated with flight-themed poems by North Swindon school children, a new Spitfire sculpture by artist and writer Mike Pringle, and readings from Sisters in Spitfires, a collection by poet Alison Hill.
The festival’s Children’s Day (2 October) twists words with the mischief-making Goblin Circus, Plant-a-Story and the eccentric Imagination Museum.
As well as open mics, poetry discos and family events, Britain’s friendliest and most fun poetry festival features readings and workshops by the best bards in the UK and beyond.
Award-winning Kim Moore is poet-in-residence across the Big Poetry Weekend, and the festival welcomes one of our brightest young poets, Andrew McMillan (7 and 8 October) who follows in the footsteps of Keats by winning plenty of poetry plaudits whilst still in his twenties.
Radio 4 poet-in-residence, Daljit Nagra is judge and guest poet at the Battered Moons poetry awards evening (8 October) and leads a masterclass on Sunday 9 October.
Due to the success of last year – and the enthusiasm of the organisers – the festival has been extended to 11 days and in two parts. The community element of Poetry Swindon Festival takes place 29 September to 5 October at Central Library, Museum and Art Gallery, Savernake Street Social Hall, Museum of Computing, North Swindon Library and the Richard Jefferies Museum.
The Big Poetry Weekend, beginning 6 October on National Poetry Day and finishing 9 October, is based at the Richard Jefferies Museum at the Richard Jefferies-inspired ‘Tent-Palace of the Delicious Air’.
Many events are free, other tickets can be bought per event or as part of a festival pass.
Poetry Swindon Festival is grant funded by Arts Council England and Artswords.
For more information and tickets, visit www.poetryswindon.org or Swindon Central Library.