Poetry Can Membership

Thank you for considering becoming a Member of Poetry Can.


Poetry Can is a charity organisation working to promote poetry in the South West of England.

We are dedicated to supporting the creative and professional development of poets of all ages and levels of experience and to increasing and promoting opportunities for everyone to take part in and enjoy poetry.

Individual membership costs £3 per month (you might think of it as buying poetry a cup of coffee once month!)

By becoming a member of Poetry Can you will be saying in a very practical way that you believe in the importance and possibilities of poetry.


You can become a member as an individual or as an organisation.


Choose your membership type below





Individual Membership




Individual membership costs £3 per month.

You can pay this as a one off annual payment of £36 for one year's membership or smaller monthly payments of £3 by standing order.

Individual members entering the annual Bristol Poetry Prize will be entitled to two free subsequent entries (three poems entered for the price of one) and up to three poetry surgeries per year without charge. (Surgery cost for non-members is £15 / surgery) 

All money raised will directly fund Poetry Can's work including Bristol Poetry Festival and our education activities.

ejm 5931 x3   ejm 5880   Young Poets Champs



To apply for your Poetry Can Membership:

Pay a one-off annual membership fee (£36)

1) Download a standing order mandate doc  or download a standing order mandate pdf

2) Use the Poetry Can bank details on the form to make a one off payment at your bank branch or through online banking or by phone. 

3) Fill in the form at the bottom of this page so that we have your details on our records.

When we have received your payment, and verified the details you have sent, we will issue you with a membership number by email.




One-off annual membership fee using PayPal (£37.47)

1) Use this PayPal button to set up a one-off annual payment (this includes an additional £1.47 PayPal fee)
(you do not need a PayPal account to pay this way. PayPal accepts debit and credit cards)


2) Fill in the form at the bottom of this page
so that we have your details on our records.

When we have received your PayPal payment, and verified the details you have sent, we will issue you with a membership number by email.



Pay monthly b
y standing order (12 x £3 payments)

1) Download a standing order mandate doc  or download a standing order mandate pdf

2) Fill in the form and take it to your bank or use the details on the form to set up a standing order through online banking or by phone.

3) Fill in the form at the bottom of this page so that we have your details on our records.

When we have received your first standing order payment, and verified the details you have sent, we will issue you with a membership number by email.


Poetry Can Membership Form


 All personal information received will be treated confidentially and will not be passed on to third parties.








Bristol Poetry Festival 2016 Thank you!

GillianClarkeweb pennyshuttleweb JohnGreeningweb HelenMortweb KunialZaffarKevinLakeweb vahnicapildeoweb NiallCampbellweb DeborahHarveyweb

MatthewCaleyweb DavidBriggsweb RachaelBoastweb AlisonBrackenburyweb RosieJacksonweb carrieetterweb matthewbartonweb stewartcarswellweb melaniebrantonweb

There are no more appreciative audiences for poetry than in Bristol, be it for readings or for performance poetry or for poetry slams, and as always I would like to thank everyone who attended the Festival this year for your attention and your appreciation, because of you Bristol has a great nationwide reputation as a place where poets want to come to read and perform. Thank you too to the poets who came, and who were so inspiring, generous and giving.  A big thank you to all the people who worked and volunteered at Bristol Poetry Festival 2016. Thank you to the University of the West of England for sponsoring the Poetry Festival and to all the venues and their staff who hosted the events, I would like to thank Bristol Grammar School, in particular for lending us the wonderful MacKay as a base for four exemplary nights of poetry readings, great bar too!  I hope to see you next year!
Best Wishes, Colin Brown, Director, Poetry Can.


Welcome to Bristol Spring Poetry Festival 2014




Box Office & General Enquiries: 0117 917 2300 / 01

Email: boxoffice@arnolfini.org.uk

Online: www.arnolfini.org.uk

Or in person: Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA

You can pay at the time of the event but events do sell out, sometimes very quickly, so advance booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

 Poetry Can logo

Bristol Spring Poetry Festival & Bristol Poetry Festival are brought to you by Poetry Can.

Poetry Can is a registered charity that works in Bristol and across the South West region providing information, advice and support on all aspects of

poetry and poetry activities; we organise an annual education programme of poetry activities; support and promote poetryevents including Bristol

Poetry Festival.

We exist thanks to the involvement, support, enthusiasm and generosity of public bodies, charitable trusts and private individuals.

If you would like to support Poetry Can, please consider making a donation towards our ongoing programmes of work.

To make a donation, please visit our website www.poetrycan.co.uk or contact Poetry Can on 0117 933 0900 or by email: info@poetrycan.co.uk


  Quick Links Calendar



Tues  1st

Weds 2nd

Thurs 4th

Fri 3rd

Sat 5th




Hammer & Tongue 


Can Openers


Sun 6th

Mon 7th

Tues 8th

Weds 9th

Thurs 10th

Fri 11th

Sat 12th




Patchwork Poetry

Portcullis Poets


Park St Poetry

Aging Gracefully


Sun 13th

Mon 14th

Tues 15th

Weds 16th

Thurs 17th

Fri 18th

Sat 19th



Telling Tales


Lips in Sync

Count Me In


Spoken Sonata

  Simon Armitage

 Sun 20th

Mon 21st

Tues 22nd Weds 23rd Thurs 24th Fri 25th Sat 26th

Lansdown Poetry Workshop

Acoustic Night


Raise the Roof & Kiss the Sky Poetry Slam


Sun 27th

Mon 28th Tues 29th  Weds 30th  Thurs 31st    

Write Space workshop





Wednesday 2 April, 8.00PM-11.00PM (doors open at 7:30 pm)

The Birdcage, 28 Clare St, Bristol BS1 1YE


Featuring John Osborne

Admission: £5.00



Hammer & Tongue is the UK’s most exciting facilitator of spoken word. Every month they host a poetry slam open to all

alongside showcasing top spoken word artists from across the country.

John Osborne

This month they have John Osborne who has written for Radio 4, had poetry published in The Guardian and a sold out

Edinburgh show 'John Peel’s Shed.'

Please arrive early to sign up for the slam.



Friday 4 April, 12.00 NOON – 1.30PM

FOYLES, 6 Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol BS1 3BU


Admission: FREE

Poetry Can

A chance to listen to and meet with poets in a relaxed atmosphere.

Open platform for poetry with special guest reader John Forth

Come along to listen or share.

Hosted by Claire Williamson



Wednesday 9 April, 5.00PM – 8.00PM

LINK ROOMS 1-2, University of Bristol, 3-5 Woodland Rd, Bristol, BS8 1TB


Admission: FREE


Patchwork Poetry


The word poetry comes from the ancient Greek word, poiēsis. As well as poetic composition, this word suggests production,

fabrication, creation, making...

The Patchwork Poetry project is about making poetry. The aim is to collaboratively make poetry in the form of material objects –

collections of words with rhythms and meanings and metaphors that emerge as ‘patchwork poems’ – put together, re-worked

and collectively arranged. On Wednesday 9th April MakingLearning, in association with the Bristol Poetry Institute, will be holding

a Patchwork Poetry making session. We like to keep these evenings quite informal, so please feel free to drop by, even if you only

have a short time to spare.



Wednesday 9th April, 7.50 for 8pm

EUGENIE HOUSE, 1-3 Royal York Crescent, Clifton, Bristol (courtesy of the residents)


Anyone interested in poetry is invited to attend, whether or not they write their own poetry

and whether or not they wish to read a poem or two

The optional theme is HAPPINESS and anyone interested in poetry is welcome. 

A donation of £1 will be asked of those drinking wine.



Friday 11 April, 8.00PM

THE LANSDOWN, 8 Clifton Road, Bristol, BS8 1AF.


Admission: £5.00 in advance / £6.00 on the door.

Further Information: 07954 147 464

Trevor Carter     David C Johnson     John Christopher Wood    Mike Scott


Following the success of their show in last year's poetry festival, The Bard of Windmill Hill, David C. Johnson and

John Christopher Wood are once again combining their finely-honed talents and formidable humour to present a show

suitable for a discerning mature audience. They will be supported by the inimitably witty songs of Mike Danvers Scott.

A memorable evening is assured. Expect lots of laughs and some food for thought. 

The Bard of Windmill Hill - Bristol Storyteller of the Year 2014, "hilarious poems and stories" - Warwick Folk Festival

David C. Johnson - internationally acclaimed performance poet and multi-slam winner

John Christopher Wood - internationally performed playwright, actor and poet, "the audience were in hysterics"  - Bristol Post

Mike Scott - 'wildly irreverent, melodiously witty' 



Friday 11 April, 7.30pm



Admission: Free, please buy a drink

Further Information: davidbriggs72@btinternet.com

Hosted by David Briggs

Special Guest Readers: Matt Merritt: Alisdair Paterson and Carrie Etter.

Matt Merritt     Alisdair Paterson    Carrie Etter 


Matt Merritt

The Elephant Tests (Nine Arches, 2013), the third collection of poems from Matt Merritt, takes sheer delight in the full

possibilities of language. It is a study of birds and natural history, travel, personal and universal memory, and even of

the occasional elephant too. In the process, it captures the quiet wonder of the fleeting moments that amaze, puzzle

and trouble us. Eco-poetry and exploration are met perfectly with myths and epiphanies; the wide, wild world outside

is precisely spoken for, just a moment before taking flight or merging into dusk. This is poetry unafraid of new territories;

Merritt pushes out the boundaries of each poem without ever once losing the humour, grace and gentle melancholy at

their heart.


Alasdair Paterson

Having won an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry in 1975 and published collections in the mid-1980s, including The

Floating World (Pig Press) and Brief Lives (Oasis Books), Alasdair Paterson returned to writing in 2010 with on The

Governing of Empires (Shearsman, 2010), and with Elsewhere or Thereabouts (Shearsman, 2014), a book that ranges

from Troy to Arcadia, along the high road to elsewhere and the low road to thereabouts, boards a ferry 'cross the Mersey

and hikes the Jurassic Coast, skates away on Duddingston Loch and dynamites the frozen rivers of Siberia, lured to the

summit and drawn to the edge. Alasdair Paterson plots a course at the cruising speed of the flâneur through the ruins

of empires, dreams and good intentions. Though pavement cafes still play a part...


Carrie Etter

Carrie Etter's first collection The Tethers (Seren, 2010) won the London New Poetry Prize for best first collection published

in the Uk and Ireland. Her second, Divining for Starters  (Shearsman, 2011) has also been critically acclaimed. In her third

book of poems, Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014) Etter reflects on her experience as a birthmother who gave up her son for

adoption, presenting dream-like encounters, full of suppressed regrets, between the poet and her son once he’s come of

age. Etter imagines a spectacular array of destinies for him from the mundane to the extraordinary and bizarre: a baker,

a surfer, Prince Charming, even the olive in her Greek salad. Dispersed among these narratives are the 'Birthmother's

Catechisms' laying bare the emotions of the narrator, in chorus-like laments for what might be or might have been.



Thursday 17 April, 7.30PM


16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA



Tickets £8 / £6 concessions

Patience Agbabi

"A pilgrimage of punks, badasses, broken hearts, beat poets, silver-tongued fixers, town criers, beauties, sinners.

A jostle of life... A poem on wheels. Inventive, risky, serious and fun." Jeanette Winterson

Award-winning poet Patience Agbabi retells Chaucer's TheCanterbury Tales for the 21st century. Mining Chaucer's Middle-English

masterwork for its performance as well as its poetry and pilgrims, this boisterous and lyrical collection gives one of Britain's most

significant works of poetry thrilling new life.

Patience Agbabi is the author of three collections, Bloodshot MonochromeTransformatrix  and R.A.W., and she is a former Poet

Laureate of Canterbury. Her poems have appeared on radio and TV around the world and she has toured widely with the British Council.

The event is part of the Telling Tales Tour produced by renaissance one www.renaissanceone.co.uk



Thursday 17 April, 8.00pm

Alma Tavern Theatre, 18-20 Alma Vale Rd, Bristol, BS8 2HY 


Admission: £5 on the door

Further Information: angiebelcher@yahoo.co.uk

Angie Belcher    Katie Grant (photo Claudio Ahlers)

Belcher & Vibes present an evening of poetic performance and back chat starring Angie Belcher and Isadora Vibes.

Step inside the hearts and minds of Bristol’s mightiest maverick mistresses of poetic performance.

Join them as they share poems and tales of love, life and sexuality.

Adults only.



Friday 18 April, 7.30PM


16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA


Tickets £8.00 / £6.00 concessions



 Count Me In

Will it be your lucky night?

Maureen and Judi hope it will be. Every week, they place their trust in Don, the glamorous Bingo Master, to make their dreams

come true. But behind the magic numbers lie the real stories of their lives.

Maureen. 55, married with four grown-up children. A home-bird who dreads the day she’ll be left alone.

Judi. Librarian. Works 37.5 hours a week, eats 5-a-day and has systems in place. But is she losing control?

Don. Twenty years calling the numbers to change people’s lives. Drink, drugs, divorce. The 12 Step Programme isn’t working.

Eyes down for a full house…

Count Me In is an immersive spoken word theatre show about the numbers in our lives.

The show takes place during one night in the Bingo Hall. We all play the game and as the numbers are called, Don, Maureen and

Judi reveal their true selves – their memories, anniversaries, regrets, mistakes, joys, hopes and dreams.

But Count Me In is a show with a difference. It is about numbers and YOU.

Glenn Carmichael   Lucy English   Sara-Jane Arbury 



Saturday 19 April, 2.00PM – 5.00PM



Admission: £20.00

Further Information: spokensonata@gmail.com/07875 220879 www.jonpjames.wix.com/spokensonata

Jonathan James       Rebecca Tantony

Jonathan James and Rebecca Tantony join forces to create a workshop exploring musical ways into devising performance poetry.

The workshop invites those with an interest in writing to consider the musicality within language and to experience the alchemy

of the spoken word and music through improvisation, writing and performance.



Saturday 19 April, 8.00PM


16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA

Tickets £12.00 / £10.00 concessions

By popular demand Bristol Spring Poetry Festival is proud to present the most original poetic voice in the UK


Simon Armitage's website: www.simonarmitage.com

 Simon Armitage



Sunday 20 April, 7.00PM – 9.00PM

The Lansdown, 8 Clifton Rd, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1AF


Admission: FREE

Further Information: Charles Thompson on Charlesthompson8000@yahoo.co.uk

Bring two poems to share. Round table and supportive comments.



Monday 21 April 8.15PM (sign up to perform from 7.30PM)

HALO CAFE/BAR, 141 Gloucester Rd, Bishopston, Bristol, BS7 8BA


Admission: £5.00

Further Information: anditrans@hotmail.com

Bristol's longest running open mic poetry and music sessions.

With featured musical or poetry guests.

Bristol Spring Poetry Festival fringe special

Robert Garnham     Robin Kidson

Winding up the Poetry Can Spring festival fringe we welcome back the enigmatic, theatrical Robert Garnham

with support from poet Robin Kidson, voted best Geordie accent 2012-2013 plus the usual open mic.

Sign up to perform from 7.30pm

What a treat!


Thursday 24 April, 10.00AM – 12 NOON


Great George Street, Bristol, BS1 5RR


Bristol Primary Schools Poetry Slam




With Raise The Roof & Kiss The Sky Mentors and Hosts: 

Sara-Jane Arbury, Glenn Carmichael, Jonny Fluffypunk and Claire Williamson

Sara-Jane Arbury    Glenn Carmichael    Jonny Fluffypunk    Claire Williamson

Four teams of four young poets from each school and cheered on by over four hundred of their school friends will raise the roof,

rapture the walls and rose-petal the floor of St George's, Bristol with their inspirational, surprising poems.

Poets Sara-Jane Arbury (St Mary Redcliffe), Glenn Carmichael (Whitehall), Jonny Fluffypunk (Bishop Road) and Claire Williamson

(Ashton Gate) have been working with the children in the schools, nurturing enthusiasm, kindling a fiery, eager excitement for words

and developing their skills and their confidence to write and perform poems with passion and with style.

The proud mentors will host the slam and exhort the audience to make the wild music of cheering and applause that is the red hot

rocking soundtrack to every great poetry slam. This will be a poetic experience the children will never forget.

Only one team can win the Poetry Slam cup for their school...

but every team can raise the roof and kiss the sky with a poem.





Sunday 27 April,10.30AM-1.00PM and 1.30PM to 3.30PM



Payment by donation

Writing sessions for poets and all other writers, facilitated by Polly Moyer, MA.

The writing sessions from 10.30am to 1pm will involve prompts and exercises and will be followed by a workshop

session from 1.30pm - 3.30pm

If you want feedback for your work in the workshop session, please bring a (short ish) piece of writing to read out loud.

All styles and forms welcome. If you want to bring some copies, that will help, but don't worry if you can't.

If you want to come and find out how we work shop, but don't have a piece to bring, no worries.

Payment by donation, but please only offer what you can afford.



Monday 28 April, 8.00PM-10.00PM.

BRISTOL OLD VIC basement, King St, Bristol, BS1 4ED


Admission: £6.00

Hosted by Anna Freeman

Further Information: Box Office: 0117 987 7877 www.bristololdvic.org.uk/blahblahblah.html


Katie Bonna      John Osborne      Stephanie Dogfoot

Katie Bonna, whose poetry play Dirty Great Love Story, co-written with Richard Marsh, won a Fringe First Award at the

2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Laughs are frequent, unsignalled and brilliant.’ – Times    Warmly and fuzzily recommended.’ - Independent

John Osborne, whose first book Radio Head, up and down the dial of British Radio (Simon&Schuster) was broadcast

as Radio 4′s Book of the Week. His second book The Newsagent’s Window (Simon&Schuster 2010) won the East Anglian

Book Award.   Gentle without being dull, sharp but never sneering, witty but without a hint of the show-off' - Stuart Maconie.

and Stephanie Dogfoot, Singapore Slam Champion. 'Poetry for spiritual beings on a human journey'.

Hosted by Anna Freeman







For testing forms

[Form contact not found!]

Bristol Poetry Festival 2013

Monday 30th September to Sunday 6th October

Click on the brochure image below to browse the festival programme. 


This is the Bristol Poetry Festival 2014 anti-clash diary.

The orange boxes represent events that are already programmed. (there is also an event on the evening of Friday 5th September)

If you would like to organise or submit an event to be included in the festival diary, please try very hard to avoid programming your event to

clash with any of the programming below.

If you would like to have an event included in the Bristol Poetry Festival 2014 programme and brochure, please send your event details to the

festival director at info@poetrycan.co.uk.

We are happy to include any events that fall between or around Weds 10th September and Sun 21st September.

If your event falls outside of these dates, contact Poetry Can to discuss the inclusion of your event. 



Time Sun 7th Mon 8th Tues 9th Weds 10th Thurs 11th Fri 12th Sat 13th









 Time  Sun 14th Mon 15th Tues 16th Weds 17th Thurs 18th Fri 19th Sat 20th















Time Sun 21st Mon 22nd  Tues 23rd Weds 24th  Thurs 25th  Fri 26th  Sat 27th 











Sponsors Wanted For Bristol Poetry Festival 2013


Brochure cover 2005 Bristol Poetry Festival 2006 poster Bristol Poetry festival 2007 brochure Bristol Poetry Festival 2008 bristol Poetry Festival 2009 Bristol Spring Poetry Festival 2010
Bristol Poetry Festival 2010 Bristol Spring Poetry Festival 2011 Bristol Poetry Festival 2011 Bristol Spring Poetry Festival 2012 Bristol Poetry Festival 2012 Bristol Spring Poetry Festival 2013


Poetry Can invites companies and organisations to become sponsors of

Bristol Poetry Festival Monday September 30 to Sunday 6 October 2013


Would your company or organisation like to sponsor Bristol Poetry Festival?

Do you know of a company that would enjoy sponsoring the Poetry Festival?


Poetry Can presents the most entertaining, inspirational and award-winning poets and performers from the UK and around the World at Bristol

Poetry Festival & Bristol Spring Poetry Festival each year. Bristol Poetry Festival is now in its eighteenth year. Bristol Spring Poetry Festival was

introduced by popular demand in 2010. Poets, performers amd speakers who have performed at Bristol Poetry Festival include:

the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Benjamin Zephaniah, Simon Armitage, Germaine Greer, Roger McGough, Brian Patten, Alice Oswald, Penelope

Shuttle, Wendy Cope, Helen Dunmore, Sean O'Brien, Fleur Adcock, John Hegley and Ian McMillan.


Bristol Poetry Festival 2013 Events include: Louis de Bernieres, Author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, launches his new collection of poetry:

Imagining Alexandria; An Assortment of Sibyls featuring Prunella Scales & Leo Aylen; Bristol book launch ofThe Echoing Gallery featuring poems

from over thirty Bristol poets; Liberated Words : Poetry Film Festival; Bristol Poetry Festival Poetry Slam: Bristol vs Leeds; Martin Figura's poetry

play: Whistle, poetry readings from Helen Ivory, Rachael Boast, David Briggs, Deborah Harvey, and much more.


Bristol Poetry Festival 2013 also sees the introduction of The Poetry Can South West Poetry Awards : these awards will be madeduring

this year's Festival to poets, performance poets, organisations, groups and individuals working in the poetry sector who have made a significant

contribution to poetry, performance poetry and poetry development in the South West of England between the dates: April 1, 2012 and March 31,


Your company could sponsor one of the following six awards:

  • The Poetry Publication Award

The Poetry Publication Award celebrates the work of poetry publishers based in the South West.


  • The Poetry Work With Children and Young People Award

The Award for poetry work with children and young people celebrates poetry development work undertaken with children and/or young people.


  • The Contribution to Poetry Development Award

The Contribution to Poetry Development Award goes to an individual or organisation making an important contribution to poetry development in

the South West.


  • The Individual Poet Award

Awarded to an individual South West based poet to celebrate a significant acheivement in poetry or major piece of work.


  • The Individual Performance Poet Award

Awarded to an individual South West based performance poet to celebrate a significant acheivement or major piece of work.


  • The Special Recognition Award

Awarded to any individual based in the South West who has made a distinguished contribution to poetry over at least twenty years.


Your organisation may choose to sponsor Bristol Poetry Festival for a variety of reasons:


Association with two of the best poetry festivals in the region,

Our events offer direct visibility to thousands of people with an interest in the arts,

Supporting the arts for the benefit of the community,

Raising of your company profile,

Increasing awareness to potential employees,

Association with creativity, vitality, expansion,

Visible support of the arts.


Sponsorship opportunities


We offer a range of exciting opportunities for individuals and local and national businesses to invest in the festival promoting brands and raising

corporate profiles to the wide audience of this flagship poetry event.


With packages ranging from £500 to £1,000, opportunities for sponsoring the festival events and activities are grouped into three main strands:

General; Events; The South West Poetry Awards.


Benefits and options of sponsorship include:


Logo on sponsors' page and against event in the brochure/s

Logo on Poetry Can website and link to sponsors' web-site

Logo in Poetry Can monthly newsletter and link to sponsor's web-site

Company name on a South West Poetry Award

Complimentary tickets to the sponsored events

Profiled in relevant event media releases

Logo placement on specific print ads

National and local media profile


If you would like to sponsor Bristol Poetry Festival please contact:

Colin Brown, Director of Poetry Can

12 Great George Street,

Bristol, BS1 5RH.

Tel: 0117 933 0900

Email: admin@poetrycan.co.uk


Bristol Poetry Festival is organised by Poetry Can


POETRY CAN is one of the very few poetry development agencies in the UK, and its annual showcase events Bristol Poetry Festival and

Bristol Spring Poetry Festival are among only a handful of festivals dedicated exclusively to poetry.

Based in Bristol, Poetry Can is a registered charity and provides and promotes an exceptional contemporary programme of events in major Bristol

venues such as the Arnolfini and Bristol Old Vic, it also provides creative learning, and participation initiatives in our local and regional communities,

including: working with a wide range of individuals and community groups, placing poets in schools, and supporting work aimed at young people.

We also work to enhance and support the artistic and professional development of poets, whatever the stage of their development, and to provide

information, advice and support on all aspects of poetry and to provide details of all poetry events and activities happening in the South West of



Poetry Can supports excellence in poetry thanks to the involvement, support, enthusiasm and generosity of public bodies, arts and other

organisations, private individuals and poetry enthusiasts. Your support enables us to excite a new generation of poets and audiences, transform

lives, and provide great experiences for all.






Bristol Spring Poetry Festival Director's Review


Bristol Spring Poetry Festival 2013 had a different feel this year,

its impact seemed even more intimate, even more immediate somehow.



Colin Brown Festival Director

Colin Brown, Festival Director

Arnolfini Stage

The Arnolfini Stage

Colin and Ewan

Colin Brown and the marvellous Ewen McCloud, Arnofini tech.
photo: Ed Martin
   photo: David Bloomfield   photo: Dru Marland



Acoustic Night  
  photo Dru Marland  

Acoustic Night at Halo Cafe/Bar on Gloucester Road set the tone, it's Bristol's longest running spoken word / open mic event, and one of the best organised and run, it is regularly frequented by some of the most interesting and inspiring poets and poetry enthusiasts in Bristol, though it's very relaxed with the feeling of a really good "local" it is very welcoming to new-comers and especially those performing for the first time. Julian Ramsay Wade is the front man of the Acoustic Night team and is a skilled host easing the night along with just the right blend of poetry, song, humour, informed banter, introduction, encouragement and appreciative encouraging of applause... more than readily forthcoming for special guests Jo Bell and Bohdan Piasecki, excellent and engaging performers who would grace any poetry event anywhere at all.





Ian McMillan's performance at the Arnolfini elicited an appreciative "Stand-up verse is a big hit"9/10 review for his show Talkin' Myself Home in the Bristol Evening News. On the night Ian paid tribute to the people, places, and life circumstances that have made him into the kind of community writer and popular performer he is, and he is very popular, his way with the audience, which feels like he's talking to someone he's known for years, created a warm everyday kind of intimacy, he was irresistibly endearing and funny and had the audience laughing from beginning to end...

Totally brilliant evening with one of the funniest, most perceptive, engaging and charming people one could ever hope to  meet. Emotion depth and poignancy interspersed with the hilarity. Fabulous event! Thank you." FEEDBACK FORM – Ian Beech

Ian MacMillan Audience   Ian MacMillan   Ian MacMillan

 photo Ed Martin


Photo Dave Bloomfield


photo Ed Martin

 Ian MacMillan    Ian MacMillan    Ian MacMillan
 photo: Dave Bloomfield    photo: Dave Bloomfield    photo: Ed Martin


Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About
poetry play written by and starring: Stephen James Smith, Kalle Ryan and
Kalle Ryan Colm Keegan and Stephen James Smith 3Colm Keegan.

Special guest reading from Pete Mullineux.

Pete Mullineux, originally from Bristol, now living in Galway, opened the show with readings from his three poetry collections, after the break Stephen, Kalle and Colm, three poets from Dublin, performing on a simple but beautifully designed set told interweaving stories in verse about life, love, family, relationships, loss and redemption and showed just how beautiful, powerful and engaging performance poetry can be.
One of the highlights of the Festival, the audience certainly felt so:
"This was a stunning evening of material about masculinity with Pete Mullineaux guesting in the first half. I arrived late from work, to walk into a poem about singing. I am a singing teacher - this was a great start. Warm words about fatherhood and fathers followed, and then the performance of a show about a male perspective on 21st century life and relationships. I was stunned by the passion of the words and the delivery, and the raw honesty and power that was crafted into the performance. The story of the loss of a parent or the end of a relationship has a predictable sort of trajectory and is utterly universal but the imprint of each was personal and moving and I thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of that intimacy.
FEEDBACK FORM – Frith Trezevant



Readings from: Penelope Shuttle, Deryn Rees-Jones, Kapka Kassabova, Pat Simmons.

Pat Simmons is one of Bristol's best poets, she has come relatively recently to writing poetry, it was only when she retired that she found the courage and the time to write, since then she has had poems published in several anthologies and has won various awards. On a night of beautiful readings from some of Britain's most talented poets Pat read first and looked very much at home there on the stage, reading her poems with the care and style they clearly deserved and talking to the audience with confidence. Kapka Kassabova is originally from Bulgaria and has lived and travelled all over the world, she is based now in the Scottish highlands. Kapka brought an a multiplicity of international perspectives to the Festival which ran like a thread through her magical realist poems.

Deryn Rees-Jones was short-listed for the 2012 T.S. Eliot Prize and it was a pleasure to welcome such a skilled and inspired poet to the Festival and a privilege to hear her read.

Penelop Shuttle is, of course, one of the very best poets we have, Poetry Can is very fortunate to have her as a patron and the Poetry Festivals are always lucky when she agrees to read in Bristol. Penelope read from her latest book Unsent: New & Selected Poems 1980-2012 which includes poems from ten collections published over thirty years, plus new work.


Audience   Pat Simmons   Kapka Kassapova

photo: Ed Martin


Pat Simmons photo: Dru Marland


Kapka Kassapova photo: Dru Marland

 Deryn Rees-Jones

Penelope Shuttle

Deryn Rees-Jones   photo Dru Marland

Penelope Shuttle   photo: Dru Marland


Film: We Are Poets



"It was such an interesting and uplifting experience to see the stories of the young poets told and all the young people at the slam in the US, I thoroughly enjoyed it!"  FEEDBACK FORM Becky Carron

We Are Poets is a film made by Alex Ramseyer-Bache & Daniel Lucchesi it follows the fortunes of four young performance poets, from Leeds Young Authors as they represent the UK at Brave New Voices, the most prestigious poetry slam competition in America. This film was another highlight of Bristol Spring Poetry Festival, from its impressive opening sequence right through to the final credits it drew gasps, cheers, laughter, sighs and cries of delight from the audience. The decisions made by the film makers are fascinating to see and to think about – this film could have been made to be like an extended t.v. reality talent show but it is so much more, it's the kind of experience you can keep thinking back upon long after you have left your seat in the auditorium.





The Rememberers

Kenny Baraka brought his classic tale of good versus evil, told through rap, narration, lyrics, music and projection. We haven't had anything like this at the Festival before and it was an intriguing and compelling way to enjoy an evening of performance poetry.








Events Around Bristol included BLAHBLAHBLAH at the Bristol Old Vic, WRITE SPACE – POETRY WORKSHOPS at Maitreya Social, THE LANSDOWN POETRY WORKSHOP PRESENTS at The Lansdown, Clifton; THE ARTS HOUSE OPEN MIC at Stokes Croft; CAN OPENERS at  Foyles Bookstore.

Alice Oswald 001 700 420 90


The final event, organised with Bristol Festival of Ideas, was Alice Oswald at the Watershed. Alice Oswald is an amazing poet to read and an astonishing poet to see/hear.

Many people there said that this was one of the most amazing poetry events they had ever attended. Alice read poems from almost all her collections, with an extended reading from her most recent book Memorial... Actually she didn't really read, she'd learnt the poems she was going to do by heart, as performance poets will happily tell you, this removes the last barrier between poet and audience, and it meant she was able to be more expressive and to create a much more immediate and intimate atmosphere that amplified the emotional-intellectual-aural-impact of the poetry.





Bristol Spring Poetry Festival 2013 was an exciting and wonderful poetry time. I look forward now to the next Bristol Poetry Festival, Monday 30 September to Sunday 6 October 2013 which will include: the launch of The Echoing Gallery an anthology of Bristol poems by Bristol poets including Helen Dunmorea day long Poetry-Film Festival; Bristol Poetry Festival Slam; An Assortment of Sibyls with Prunella Scales and Leo AylenMartin Figura's poetry play Whistle; readings from Louis de Bernieres, Helen Ivory, Deborah Harvey, Rachael Boast and David Briggs;  Inner Skin: a poetry-visual arts exhibition which documents the experiences of the Chinese community in Bristol... and much, much, more, see you there!