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!



Poetry Can Newsletter

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easy-to-use and useful database.  

Ideal for students interested in furthering their education and maybe applying for courses in America or online.



Bristol Poetry Festival Wall of Poets!


Below are some of the poets and performers who have appeared at Bristol Poetry Festival and Bristol Spring Poetry Festival over the past years.

To find out how to apply to be part of future festivals, click here: Bristol Poetry Festivals


PaulSummerswall Claire Williamson lizgreenfieldwall wendymillarwall andycroftweb Pameli Benham Benjamin Zephaniah JoBellwall Nick Moore
Angie Belcher Robyn Bolam robgeewall FrancescaBeardwall David Briggs Benita Johnson Ophelia McCabe Indigo Williams Peter Bearder
Rembrandt Clarke Liz Bentley Sasha Dugdale DavidJohnsonwall Rita Ann Higgins Peter Bennet Matthew Barton Anna Freeman Vanessa Kisuule
Tina Sederholm Menna Elfyn Shiela Yager johnhegleywall Rachel Bentham Carol Ann Duffy TamarYoseloffwall Dennis O'Driscoll John Cummins
Romola Garai Anne 'Ellie' Evans sophiehallwall PaulDurcanwall Katy Evans-Bush Simon Armitage Katharine Towers W N Herbert helendunmorewall
Poetry Slam A F Harrold Carol Rumens damianfurnisswall Roddy Lumsden Matt Harvey Ben Mellor Elaine Feinstein Patrick Brandon
Phil Bowen Graham Chilcott Rebecca Tantony Jonathon Davidson jamesbuntingwall Ann Grey Rachael Boast Lucy English Mark Niel
Sean O'Brian Ros Martin Maggie Harris SallyJwall harrybakerwall Lydia Beardmore Glenn Carmichael Robin Cairns Hollie McNish
Malika Booker George Szirtes emmawardwall jfpwall Rowan McCabe Michael Wilson David Wooley Jean Sprackland Kit Wright
Dan Eggs Helen Gregory stephenjamessmithwall elviswall Elayne Harrington Annie Freud Byron Vincent Brian Patten Penelope Shuttle
Pat V T West Ash Dickinson jackdeanwall benlawrencewall Kathryn Simmonds Tim Liardet Roger McGough Owen Sheers Chris Redmond
Shamshad Khan Tim Gibbard bennorriswall elcrisiswall Carrie Wilde Kiran Singh Ruth Fainlight Philip Gross Mac McFadden
Douglas Dunn OneNess hazelhammondwall steveduncanwall Clare Shaw Cynthia Hamilton Dorothea Smartt Byron Wallen Edson Burton
Alan Summers Annie McGann Brendan Cleary Ian Sills Ian Duhig Jane Yeh Jane Draycott Jason Yarde Helen Ivory
Helen Farish Gabeba Baderoon John Davies John Agard Linda Lamus Liz Lochhead Maura Dooley Medbh McGuckian Jive Poetic
Michael Rosen Moniza Alvi Murray Lachlan Young Paul Farley Alicia Stubbersfield Alyson Hallet Andrew Fusek-Peters Bertel Martin Jean Binta Breeze
Bram Gieben Brendan Kennelly Caitriona O'Reilly Chloe Poems Ciaran Carson David Harsent Denise McSheehy Dike Omeje Graeme Hawley
Elizabeth Whyman Emma McGordon Ester Morgan Filipa Leal Fiona Hamilton Germaine Greer Glyn Maxwell Joan Davis Jenny Lindsay
Greta Stoddart Gwyneth Lewis Heather Imani Isobel Dixon Jacob Polley Jan Blake Mahogany L Browne Milton Balgoni Michael Symmons Roberts
Lawrence Pettener Libby Houston Marcus Moore Martin Figura Matthew Sweeney Peter Finch Paul Scott Paul Farley Peter Hunter
Neil Rollinson Nick Fisk Pascale Petit Patience Agbabi Richard Carter Realitie Robin Robertson Ros Barber Ralph Hoyte
Pierre Ringwald Polly Clark Polly Peters Rosie Lugosi Rosemary Dun Rosy Carrick Rustum Kozain Ruth Padel R V Bailey
Sally Pomme Clayton Sarah Maguire Sarah Law Shagufta Iqbal Shonaleigh Cumbers Soul Thomas Evans Stacy Makishi Steve Rooney Rose Cook
Steve Tasane Sundra Lawrence Tim Turnbull U A Fanthorpe Valerie Bloom Frances Leviston Rosemary Harris Wilf Merttens Rose Flint
Sonia Hendy-Isaac Nathan Filer Michaela Morgan Rose Cook Pascale Petit Nigel McLoughlin Molly Case Medbh McGuckian Gwen Seabourne
Matthew Caley Liz Brownlee Julian Ramsey-Wade John Terry Jeanne Ellen Jade Oldfield Imtiaz Dharker Alison Brumfitt Alphonse
Glyn Maxwell Gerard Benson Feur Adcock Emma McGordon Dreadlock Alien Catherine Smith Ian McMillan Kapka Kassabova Alice Oswald
Agatha Knowles Pat Simmons Pete Mullineaux Bohdan Piasecki Deryn Rees-Jones Grace Palmer Dan Holloway Deborah Harvey Fiona Lindsay
Kalle Ryan, Collum Keegan, Steven James Smith Sue Hardy-Dawson Cathy Benson Atilla the Stockbroker Sara-Jane Arbury Tim Cumming Brenda Read-Brown
Aaron Kent Agatha Nahual Sir Andrew Motion Leo Alwyn Martin Figura Prunella Scales Nick Lovell Robert Garnham Sam Boarer
Grafitti Poet Sharamel Sulman Sid Sherwin Stewart Carswell Tim Vosper John Osborne Katie Grant John Christopher Wood Seth Hampshire
Stephanie Dogfoot Alasdair Paterson Katie Bonna Matt Merritt Patience Agbabi Trevor Carter Mike Scott Robin Kidson Mir Mahfuz Ali
Jonathan James Simon Armitage Sara-Jane Arbury Louis de Bernieres Alyson Hallett Robert Minhinnick Lucy Lepchani Megan Chapman Melanie Brant
Vidyan Ravinthiran Victoria Field Claire Trevien Kate Firth Dikra Rhida Nadine Bourne Jasmin White Heidi Murphy Daniel Haynes
Lou Bell Nick Lovell Tim King Lloyd Fletcher Abi Newman Gillie Harries Paul Hawkins Joan Michelson Harry Baker
Jeremy Toombs Jonny Fluffypunk Adam Kammerling Clare Pollard Bethany W Pope Jose Solo Emily Wills Caleb Parkin Becky Cherriman
Amy Mason Angie Belcher Rosie Jackson John Hegley Lucy Furlong Tim Clare Kate Tempest Pru Fowler Sarer Scunthorne
Alison Brackenbury Ben Banyard Ben Ray Bethany W Pope Beth Ford Caroline Smith Carrie Etter Chris Redmond David Briggs
David C Johnson Deborah Harvey Gillian Clarke HelenMortweb Sally Jenkinson (photo Ian Drake) Jemima Foxtrot John Greening jonnyfluffypunkweb Knotbrook Taylor
Zaffar Kunial (photo Kevin Lake) Matt Duggan Matthew Barton Matthew Caley Melanie Branton Natasha Borton Niall Campbell Pat Simmons Paul Hawkins
Rachael Boast Rebecca Tantony Rob Gee Rosie Jackson Sam Smith Sarah James Sarer Scotthorne Scott Tyrrell Simon Williams
Stewart Carswell Tim Burroughs Toby Campion Vahni Capildeo Bob Beagrie Claire Williamson Dru Marland Hannah Davies Helen Dewberry & Chaucer Cameron
Helen Ivory Karen MaCarthy Woolf Martin Figura Liz Berry Lois P Jones Lucy English Lydia Towsey Paul Scott Kyra Pollitt
Rishi Dastidar Sarah Howe Tara Bergin Elvis McGonagall Jackie Juno Sam Boarer Megan Chapman Andy Brown Kathryn O'Driscoll





This year's attendance figures were up on both 2011 & 2010.


An undoubted highlight of Bristol Poetry Festival 2012 was the poetry & photography exhibition, held in the Light Studio of the Arnolfini:

THE WOMAN WHO SLEPT WITH BONES : a conversation about the nature of the night, illustrated with photographs by Alison Wills

and poems by Hazel Hammond.

This exhibition had its origins in a time when Alison Wills was finding it hard to sleep and had elected to turn this positive by going out

and taking photographs of the world at night. Inevitably as the eye and the mind of the artist begin to converse the photographs begin

to capture inner as well as outer images and landscapes/cityscapes. When poet Hazel Hammond joined her poems to this conversation

a fascinating project became more compelling still, for just as Hazel's poems responded to Alison Will's photographs so Alison began to

talk with Hazel's poetry in her photographs. The result was a beautiful exhibition that was a such a pleasure to visit and re-visit, one that

you couldn't help but engage with in your imagination and so be inspired by in your turn, the conversation grew. It ran during the Poetry

Festival from Tuesday 25 to 30 September and included a reading of the poems by Hazel and a talk by the artists about their collaboration.



Four poets, contrasting in style but with a connection in their viewpoints in that each seems to inhabit and to write from life's borderlines.

Bristol based Matthew Barton's awards include BBC Wildlife Poet of the Year, Matthew gave a wonderfully rich and strong reading, each

poem drawing the audience further into the natural world through the places where people and the world coincide, an heroic reading too

it was, because though he never mentioned it to the audience even once, the poor man was suffering from a dreadful toothache.

Jo Bell, the Director of National Poetry Day, long-boat-dweller on the country's canal, an indomitable poetry activist, has recently chosen to

base herself in the South West of England (a wonderful asset to the region), Jo gave a consummate performance, wry, wise then

whoop-eliciting funny then honest then touching then stirring by turns.

Kathryn Simmonds began by reading poems from her hugely entertaining first collection Sunday at the Skin Launderette winner of the

Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2008 then went on to read poems from her next collection, to be called: 'The Weather in the Blood'

(after a line in an Elaine Feinstein poem 'how do you change the weather in the blood?'), it was a privilege, the new poems sounded really good,

and I'm already looking forward to the new book, which should be out in October 2013.

Philip Gross is well known in Bristol (been a long time resident before his move to South Wales) and has many friends here. He is highly

respected for his very fine and skilled poetry and also for the kind and generous support he has given to his fellow poets over many years.

Philip, a T.S. Eliot Prize-winning poet is, of course, always a compelling poet to see and to hear, but on this night his reading of poems from his

most recent collection, Deep Field, which are all about his father, the life he lived, including, especially, his father's love of language and languages;

then the terrible, terrible loss he was forced to undergo through his experience of profound aphasia made for a particularly moving and rousing

experience that went straight to the heart of a man, to the heart of the Word itself, and to the very heart of a relationship between a father and

a son.



This event is an annual celebration of the art and the craft and the joy of performance poetry – slam style.

Each year we invite four performance poets from Bristol to compete against four of their peers from another city in the crucible of the poetry slam.

It's an opportunity not only to enjoy some of Bristol's finest but also to see something of what performance poets from other cities and countries are

doing with the form. Past Bristol Poetry Festivals have included visits from London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, Paris and the

USA, to name but a few. It's also a great party with skilled, exuberant and entertaining hosting provided by Glenn Carmichael and

Claire WilliamsonDublin's performance poetry scene and community is relatively new but very enthusiastic and fresh, the Dublin team loved the

event and were full of praise for Bristol, they gave very entertaining performances and provided some memorable moments, John Cummins

inspired poem in praise of tea drinking following Jonny Fluffypunk's anti-tea-pro-coffee poem for example but in the end, on the whole Bristol

just had too much on the night, winning both the team slam and the individual award with Bristol's Stephen Duncan emerging triumphant.



A full house at the Arnolfini gave Benjamin Zephaniah a rapturous welcome to Bristol Poetry Festival. Benjamin was here to tell some of the

stories behind the known and unknown facts of his life and times. In between the stories he performed a number of poems. He concluded with

a Q&A session. The stories didn't follow a careful chronological programme but jumped from time to time and he certainly didn't come anyway

near to telling all the "chapters" of his life. You had the strong impression that if you saw the same show on a different night it would be a

completely different set and order of stories. With open hearted honesty Benjamin Zephaniah held the auditorium in rapt attention, provoking

(in no particular order) anger and disgust (at one of his teachers who described him as "... a born loser"), laughter, delight, recognition, serious

thought, high and low emotion, pleasure in the sound of words and a recognition of the kindness within us all. Afterwards it took nearly thirty

minutes for Benjamin to cover the very short distance between the auditorium and the table in the Arnolfini bookshop where he was to sign

books, it was just that so many people wanted so very much to ask a question, to tell him something significant, to elicit his support for a

cause, or just to tell him how much they had enjoyed the evening and to shake his hand. Signing books at the bookshop table he didn't stint

with time but engaged with everyone who wanted to talk, or ask, or share. Benjamin was there signing and talking for well over a hour and a

half. People at the end of queue didn't give up and go home but were happy to wait their turn, talking, smiling, enjoying the buzz of the evening.

There was a feeling that something good and right had happened.




This was poet, editor, critic and Poetry Can patron Dennis O'Driscoll speaking about the experience of working with Seamus Heaney, and the

process of putting together one of the most beautiful, enjoyable and absorbing books about a poet, and poetry, ever written.

One of the reasons that the book is so enjoyable, Dennis O'Driscoll pointed out, is that the interviews became something more than what might

be reasonably expected of even a well conducted, very good interviewer and interviewee... because Seamus Heaney, being Seamus Heaney,

this book was and is not only a work that sheds another kind of light on his life and poetry, which would be interesting enough certainly, but

Heaney's responses to the O'Driscoll's shrewd, well chosen questions soon become poetry in their own right and, ultimately, an essential part

of Seamus Heaney's oeuvre. There really isn't anyone quite like Heaney , Dennis O'Driscoll said, and rightly so... this was an informative and

inspiring talk that included an equally enjoyable question and answer session.



An undoubted highlight of the festival, the evening began with Helen Dunmore reading from her latest collection The Malarkey, one of the most

impressive collections of 2012 and one a reader might make the time to read from cover to cover in one sitting. A half hour reading doesn't allow

that, though now that I think about it, a single poet having an evening to read one complete collection cover to cover is a really good idea.

Helen Dunmore has a strong and beautiful voice and is a very assured reader and she was certainly able to draw an increasingly willing audience

into the very heart of this much recommended and inspired collection.

Elaine Feinstein is of course a prolific poet and writer, and much admired by her peers, by younger poets (Kathryn Simmonds for example,

titling her new collection from a line in an Elaine Feinstein poem) and also by her many readers. Her first collection In a Green Eye was 

published in 1966, so you could say her work as a poet goes to the root of contemporary poetry in the U.K. Elaine is a generous reader, reading

poems ranging widely from various times in her life and career. She was sometimes moving, sometimes intriguing, sometimes hilarious but always


Dennis O'Driscoll is such an entertaining reader, the pleasure and delight he brings to any reading makes him well worth the booking if you're a

literary event promoter and well the seeing if you enjoy the arts in general and/or poetry in particular. On this occasion he read from his new

collection Dear Life. It's fair to say that you are entitled to expect some degree of originality from the poetry of any good poet, the poems read by

Dennis were more than just original, they were the kind of poems that could show you the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary experiences of

everyday life, of course you could also say most good poetry does that too... but the poems from Dear Life that Dennis O'Driscoll read at Bristol

Poetry Festival 2012 were the kind of poems that could surprise you into heaven.




An event to showcase the talent of the next generation of performance poets (16-25 year olds) from Bristol and around various regions of England.

It was the culmination of a year's work that included the setting up of the Siren Says monthly open mic. event for young people and the Next

Generation Poetry Slam that had taken place in Bristol during the Bristol Spring Poetry Festival 2012. Hosted by poet and teacher Tim Gibbard, this

event featured five Bristol poets : Harry Baker, Vanessa Kisuule, Emma Ward, Jack Dean and Lydia Beardmore taking on five of their peers

selected by Apples and Snakes from around the regions: Ben Lawrence (South East), Rowan McCabe (North East), Ben Norris (West Midlands),

Indigo Williams (London) and Carrie Wilde (South West). There were some stellar performances from both sides and it really could have gone

either way but in the tightest of slams Apples and Snakes came away the winners by a single point. The real winner of course was certainly an

enthused and happy audience, on a wonderful Bristol Poetry Festival night it was great to showcase and demonstrate the abundance of young

poetic talent we have in Bristol and in England.


Tim Key was another highlight of this year's festival, every seat in the house was sold to this high profile performer (Edinburgh Festival Comedy

Award winner, Bafta nominee, guest on all manner of TV programmes including Never Mind The Buzzcocks, host of his own late night poetry

programme on Radio 4, to name but a few) touring his current show Masterslut. A very popular, rip-roaring event from a very likeable and amiable



Bristol Poetry Festival 2012 Events Around Bristol organised by Poetry Can and local poetry promoters included book launches, open mics,

poetry films, slam events, readings from international, national and locally based poets, a music and poetry band, and workshops at events such as:

Lansdown Poetry Evening; Siren Says; Dead Poets Slam, Twenty Poets Perform, Poetry Cafe at the Vintage Cox & Baloney Tearoom;

Acoustic Night – Instant Anthology; Between The Lines – An Intimate Evening with Ash Dickinson; Nii Ayikwei Parkes; Hammer & Tongue Bristol,

Can Openers, Park Street Poetry and Poetry Pulpit.   







Submit Your Event


This listing is for events in the South West of England only.

Please fill in the form below to submit your event and it will be added to the website listing as soon as possible.








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