september 12 - september 19

Web Collage

Quick link calendar. Click on dates to see festival events

September 2011
Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri Sat Sun

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Arnolfini Box Office0117 917 2300 / 01


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.


St. George's Bristol Box office & General

Telephone: 0845 40 24 001         Online:

Or in person: St George's Bristol, Great George Street, Off Park Street, Bristol BS1 5RR.

Box Office Opening Hours :Monday to Friday: 12pm to 6pm.

Saturday/Sunday: From 1 and a half hours before the start of each performance.

Please note: On most concert days the Box Office is open until the end of the interval.


For Events at other venues around Bristol

For all free events, just go to the venue for the start time.

For Acoustic Night at the Halo Cafe Bar, get there early if you want to perform, otherwise just turn up at the start time.

For all open mic events where you wish to perform, early arrival is advised.


Festival Aperatif

Friday 9 September     8.00pm

Boston Tea Party, Park Street

Admission: Free with a drink

Pay on the door


  Roddy LumsdenTamar YoseloffKaty Evans-BushDavid Briggs  

Roddy Lumsden, Tamar Yoseloff, Katy Evans-Bush, David Briggs

with music from Shaun McCrindle.        Hosted by Patrick Brandon

Roddy Lumsden is the author of six collections with Bloodaxe. He is not only an edgy

and talented poet, and an innovative deviser of new forms, but a significant force in

contemporary letters.

Tamar Yoseloff is an American poet. Tonight, she is launching her fourth full collection,

The City With Horns, a brilliant book stippled with the presence of Jackson Pollock.

Katy Evans-Bush is also an American poet. Tonight, Katy will be launching her second

collection, Egg Printing Explained.

David Briggs is the author of The Method Men. His work has appeared in Reactions 5,

 Identity Parade, and Smartarse.

Saturday 10 September       8.15pm

The Lansdown, 8 Clifton Rd, Clifton

Admission  £5

Pay on the door


The competition has been a feature of Bristol Poetry Festival for the previous two years.  

This year has conjured up a fascinatingly eclectic collection of characters.  It will feature the works of Louisa M. Alcott,

W.H Auden, John Betjeman, Charles Bukowski, Lewis Carroll, Marriott Edgar, Alan Ginsberg and Ogden Nash. 

These will be represented by some of Bristol’s best poets.

For your further gratification, we will be graced by the superlative wit of poet and playwright John Christopher Wood

John will be offering us samples of his seriously funny recitations and acting as senior judge for the competition.

‘…it’s his grasp of the English language that makes him so acclaimed.  It made me come away and ponder some of the subjects

he touched upon and I had a good chuckle while he did it.’  - Bath Chronicle

Hosted by The Bard of Windmill Hill, Trevor Carter.


Saturday 10 September······ 8.00pm

The Polish Club, St Paul's Rd, Clifton

Admission· £10 on the door

Pay on the door


With special guest David Rovics and The Fellow Travellers.

The original punk poet guaranteeing and anarchic evening's entertainment


Tickets available in advance from (no booking fee)

Sunday 11 September       8.00pm

Left Bank, 128 Cheltenham Rd

Admission Free


A lively open mic with featured guests Beth Porter and The Availables

plus two poets tbc. Host: Liz Greenfield

Sign up to perform on the night from 8.30pm

Monday 12 September    8.15pm

Halo Cafe/Bar, 141 Gloucester Rd

Admission Free (donations please)


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

Bring a poem to perform and 40 A4 copies to include in the anthology and take one away at the end.

Special guests: Thom the World Poet and Marc Carver

Please note tonight is poetry open mic only.

Tuesday 13 September    7.00pm

Starbucks, Park St

Admission free


A relaxed, unplugged open mic in the cosy downstairs of Starbucks, Park St.

Hosted by James Bunting and Jodi Ann Bickley

Special guests tbc.

Thursday 15 September      12.00 - 1.30pm

Bristol Central Library Cafe, College Green

Admission Free


Hosted by Claire Williamson. Open floor - bring a poem or poems to read or simply

come along and enjoy the poetry.

With special guest Tony D'Arpino.

Thursday 15 September     6.30pm

Arnolfini, Narrow Quay

Admission Free



Sara-Jane Arbury, Glenn Carmichael, Lucy English and Anna Freeman·

interact with poetry and prose to focus on revelations and epiphanies in everyday lives.

The sudden flash that reveals the briefest moment, when everything makes sense.

'Flash Intervention' from 6.30 -7.00pm before the main house event.

Thursday 15 September      7.00pm

The Big Screen, Millenium Square



Five poetry films made by film-maker Diana Taylor with Bristol poets will be screened on the BBC Big Screen.

This event will last 25 minutes.

Thursday 15 September     7.30pm

Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay

Tickets £10

Box office: 0117 917 2300/01


Simon Armitage Sean O'Brien by Gerry Wardle

 Poetry nights don't come much more impressive than this!

 The Poetry Can is delighted to welcome Simon Armitage and Sean O'Brien to Bristol Poetry Festival 2011

 Simon Armitage is hugely entertaining, original, surprising and thrilling, and one of the very best, skilled,

innovative and most popular poets in the UK. His festival appearances are always eagerly anticipated:

be warned, tickets for this event will sell very quickly, advance booking advised.

 Sean O'Brien: November, is Sean O'Brien's new collection of poems; it is haunted by the missing and the lost: lost sleep,

connections, muses, books, the ghosts and gardens of childhood. And at the very heart of this collection, beautiful elegies

for his parents and friends. November proves that no one is as compelling a poet as Sean O'Brien, nobody at all.

Friday 16 September     7.30pm

Arnolfini, Narrow Quay

Tickets £7

Box office: 0117 917 2300/01


Douglas Dunn Katharine Towers Rachael Boast

 Douglas Dunn is the most respected Scottish poet of his generation, a protege of Philip Larkin, the author of over

a dozen collections of poetry, including Terry Street, and probably his best known work Elegies, a justly celebrated

collection of powerful, tender poems of mourning for his first wife. Elsewhere his poems embrace a wide range of subjects

including openly political address and celebrations of working class life. He is also a highly respected critic, editor, teacher

and a hugely respected mentor to other poets including: Sean O'Brien, Don Paterson, Andrew Motion, Tom Paulin and

Rachael Boast, to name but a few. He was awarded an OBE in 2003 for his services to Literature.

 Katharine Towers made a stunning impact with her debut collection: The Floating Man published by Picador in 2010.

Here is book full of music... music expresses things we cannot say, but Katharine harnesses its power to bring beyond-words

into the world of speech in the form of achingly beautiful, irresistible poems.

 Rachael Boast is a Bristol-based poet whose highly acclaimed first collection Sidereal was published earlier this year.

It has been short-listed for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection. Sidereal is time measured by the stars rather

than the sun. It's about time a book like this was published. Rachael Boast's emergence is like the discovery of a new star.

It's fantastic that she lives in Bristol!

Saturday 17 September   12.00 - 3.00pm

Bristol Central Library, College Green

Admisssion Free


A range of Bristol poets reading and performing their work at what has become an annual event.

Hosted by Mark Sayers

Saturday 17 September     3.00pm

Arnolfini, Narrow Quay

Tickets £3

Box office: 0117 917 2300/01


Tim Gibbard

Hosted by Tim Gibbard

Internationally renowned poet and one of Bristol's favourite Poetry Slam Champions, Tim Gibbard hosts this youth slam

and jam featuring some of Bristol's brightest rising stars.

A selection of Bristol's finest young writers come together to present works in their chosen genre.

Both individual and group presentations, slam, spoken word, poetry and personal prose.

Featuring St Bede's Slam Team, The Abbywood Reporters and Natural Born Poets from the North Bristol Post 16 Centre.

See next year's headliners this year. First class performances from first class poets.

This event was made possible by a generous private donation

Saturday 17 September     7.30pm

Arnolfini, Narrow Quay

Tickets £10

Box office: 0117 917 2300/01



Glenn Carmichael and Claire Williamson Chris Redmond

HOSTED BY Glenn Carmichael and Claire Williamson with feature guest Chris Redmond

Bristol take on the might of Manchester in a titanic, ispiring and exhilirating battle between two of the UK's foremost cities for spoken word.

Manchester are represented by the mighty talents of:

Sophie Hall Shamshad Khan Ben Mellor Michael Wilson

Sophie Hall, Shamshad Khan, Ben Mellor and Michael Wilson

Representing Bristol are:

Lucy English James Bunting Vanessa Kisuule Rebecca Tantony

Lucy english, James Bunting, Vanessa Kisuule and Rebecca Tantony.

Advance booking advised

Sunday 18 September  3.00pm

Arnolfini, Narrow Quay

Tickets £7

Box office: 0117 917 2300/01


Menna Elfyn Owen Sheers Ellie Evans

Menna Elfyn is perhaps the best-known Welsh language poet internationally, and certainly the most-travelled worldwide.

She has published ten volumes of poetry and a dozen more children's books and anthologies. Her extraordinary range of subjects,

breathtaking inventiveness and generosity of vision place Menna Elfyn, effortlessly, among Europe's leading poets.

Her latest publication Perffaith Nam/Perfect Blemish, is published in a

bi-lingual edition by Bloodaxe.

Click here to read an interview with Menna Elfyn by David Woolley

Owen Sheers was born in Fiji in 1974 and brought up in Abergavenny, South Wales.

An eclectic poet, novelist and writer, he has toured extensively, most recently in New York, Croatia and Hungary.

He was selected as one of the Poetry Book Society's 20 Next Generation Poets. In 2009, he presented the BBC4

television series 'A Poet's Guide to Britain'.

Ellie Evans was born in Carmarthen and spent time in London, Eastern Europe, America and China before settling in Powys.

The Ivy Hides the Fig-ripe Duchess is her exhilarating first collection and ripe it is with strange journeys, exotic locales aligned

with intimate states of mind, surrealist imagery and a more than singular delight in rebellion.

Sunday 18 September     7.30pm

Arnolfini, Narrow Quay

Tickets £7

Box office: 0117 917 2300/01

THE CAPTAIN'S TOWER:  Poems for Bob Dylan at 70.

Phil Bowen David Woolley Damian Furniss Ann Gray

Featuring Phil Bowen, David Woolley, Damian Furniss and Ann Grey

with guest musician Joe Mongon plus special guests reading from The Captain's Tower.

In seventy poems, seventy poets from seven decades and of seven nationalities celebrate and pay tribute to Bob Dylan,

who turned into his seventieth year on May 24th this year. 

Bob Dylan

 The contributers included: Simon Armitage, Caroline Bird, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Peter Finch, Linda France,

Allen Ginsburg, Michael McClure, Roger McGough, Glyn Maxwell, Paul Muldoon, Carol Rumens, Matthew Sweeney

 P HIL BOWEN first heard Bob Dylan on Radio Luxembourg in 1964. He was amazed to find out how young he was with

a voice like that. Recent publications include: Nowhere's Far – New & Selected Poems 1990 -2008 and Cuckoo Rock.

DAMIAN FURNISS first heard Bob Dylan on an Open University radio documentary about the civil rights movement

when he was thirteen, tuning in from under the bedclothes when he should have been listening to John Peel.

His first full collection was Chocolate Che .

ANN GRAY dedicated her last collection At the Gate to Alan Sizer, who gave her You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When

You Go for the journey home. Favourite Dylan songs include Clothes Line Saga (by the Roche Sisters) and Lily,

Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts.

DAVID WOOLLEY no longer works in Swansea. His last collection is  Pursued by a Bear.

His favourite Bob Dylan song is no longer Lay Lady Lay.


David Woolley has written a brief article about The captian's Tower for Poetry Can.

The article can be viewed here: The Captains Tower.

Monday 19 September    7.30pm

St. George's, Great George St, off Park St

Tickets £13

Box office: 0845 4024001

THE MUSIC OF POETRY - a celebration of sound and music in poetry.

  Romola Garai  Jonathan Davidson 

Romola Garai and Jonathan Davidson.

"Poetry is... speech with song in it, the song made by words made to dance." Robert Nye

Romola Garai reads a selection of contemporary and classic poems to celebrate the importance of sound in poetry and

to reveal why reading poetry aloud is vital to a real experience and enjoyment of poetry.

Jonathan Davidson’s poetry is darkly musical, full of the sounds of everyday life as it is lived. He will read from his new collection,

Early Train“thoughtful, lucid, deceptively simple poems; but their eye is clear and their approach graceful”  Stuart Maconie

Romola Garai is a stage and screen actress who has appeared in "Daniel Deronda" , I Capture the Castle , Nicholas Nickleby,  

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, Vanity Fair and Atonement, she can currently be seen in cinemas in One Day.

 She won critical acclaim for her role as Angel Deverell in the 2007 film Angel and has recently been on TV in Emma,  

The Crimson Petal and the White and most recently in The Hour.

Jonathan Davidson is a poet and playwright. His new collection of poems Early Train is published this Autumn.

His first collection of poetry, The Living Room, was published in 1994. He has published two poetry pamphlets, Moving the Stereo

and A Horse Called House. He has had eight radio plays broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4, along with radio adaptations of Geoffrey Hill's

Mercian Hymns and W S Graham's The Nightfishing.

His stage adaptation of Mary Webb's novel Precious Bane was toured extensively by Interplay Theatre in 2008/9.

"If music goes out of language, then you are in bad trouble." Derek Walcott

Monday 19 September    8.00pm

The Lansdown, 8 Clifton Rd, Clifton

Admission £3

Pay on the door


The Lansdown poets present 5 films made with film-maker Diana Taylor and read a selection of their poems.

Hosted by Charles Thompson.

Monday 19 September    8.00pm

Bristol Old Vic, King St.

Tickets £8/£6

Box office: 0117 987 7877

WORD OF MOUTH - Hiphop and humour

Featuring Dizraeli, Laurie Golger and Vanessa Kisuule

Word of Mouth opens it's autumn season with a blast of hiphop and lyrical spoken word poetry

from the spoken word satar Dizraeli and humour from two of the best local spoken word performers,

Laurie Bolger and Vanessa Kisuule.

Festival Dessert

Wednesday 21 September     7.30pm

Arnolfini, Narrow Quay

Tickets: £7

Box office: 0117 917 2300/01


Nick Moore

The Incongruity Project presents an evening of seamlessly welded text and sound to celebrate The Poetry of Surrealism.

Including performances of work by Arp, Breton, Eluard, Prevert, Peret and Schwitters. There will be found poems, sound poems

and love poems, and plenty of incongruities and ambiguities as we explore the extraordinary and the marvellous and perhaps

dare to step into the forbidden zone...

Special guests include: Eldritch Croon.

The core musicians of Incongruity include: Nick Moore, reader, saxaphone; John Eaves, flutes; Nick Hayman, trombones;

Don Hawley, trumpet; Cathy Warner, cello; Rachel Casperd, cello; Julian Dale and Martin Harvey, double bass.