‘If poetry is your passion, try Ledbury Poetry Festival, in the Malvern Hills near Hereford… Ledbury hosts a glorious 10-day early-summer immersion in poetry of all sorts, with a good international line-up of names to savour and discover. The atmosphere is quieter and perhaps more intense than at Hay; definitely recommended for devotees’ – The Financial Times”

 Ledbury Poetry Festival Reading Circle

 7pm – 9pm, The Master’s House Panelled Room in Ledbury. FREE.

Upcoming Reading Circle dates are:
Tuesday 17 April, 7pm – 9pm
Tuesday 22 May, 7pm – 9pm
Tuesday 19 June, 7pm – 9pm

In this friendly and relaxed session Chloe Garner will bring along some poems by poets who will be appearing at the 2018 Festival. This is a chance to read, chat about and enjoy poems as a group. The session also gives an opportunity for those who want to share their poem in progress with the group. The Reading Circle is a way to discover new poets and poems.

Ledbury Poetry Salons!
7pm – 9pm, 
The Panelled Room in The Master’s House, £5 (on the door)

Do you want to discover more about poetry? Have you been looking for a place to perform your own poetry? Why not come along to this Ledbury Poetry Salon, which includes an Open Mic and Featured Poets. This is a chance to perform your poems to a friendly and welcoming audience and to meet other writers. Expand your enjoyment of poetry through readings and conversation! Try out poems in progress or bring along your tried and tested favourites!

Tuesday 8 May with featured poet Roy McFarlane Roy McFarlane was born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage and spent most of his years living in Wolverhampton. He has held the role of Birmingham’s Poet Laureate, Starbucks and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Poet in Residence. Roy was highly commended by the Forward Prize for ‘Papers’, published in the Forward Book of Poetry 2017. Other anthologies, including Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe 2012) and he is the writer and editor of Celebrate Wha? Ten Black British Poets from the Midlands (Smokestack 2011). His first full collection of poems, Beginning With Your Last Breath, was published by Nine Arches Press (2016).


Tuesday 5 June with featured poet Jacqui Rowe (postponed from 3 April)
Jacqui Rowe has had four poetry pamphlets published and her poems have appeared widely in magazines, such as Tears in the Fence, Bare Fiction. The Interpreter’s House, and Poetry Review. She has also read her own poems on Radio 4’s Poetry Please. hosted by Roger McGough. Her first full collection, Blink, is published by V Press. Co-founder and co-editor of the award-winning independent press, Flarestack Poets, she is a sought after mentor for other poets and a tutor for the Poetry School.


Read all about Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2017.

  • record audiences!
  • fantastic international programme
  • everything the festival does in schools and the community
  • massive community involvement

…and much much more.

A riveting feel-good read!

Click here to read the full report.

Introducing the poetry critics of the future: the Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics….

Ledbury Poetry Festival in collaboration with award-winning poets Sandeep Parmar and Sarah Howe are delighted to announce the 8 participants selected for the innovative Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics mentoring programme.

The Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics scheme was founded this year to encourage diversity in poetry reviewing culture and support emerging critical voices. Open to budding BAME poetry critics resident in the UK, the scheme offers an intensive eight-month mentorship programme, including workshops, one-to-one mentorship and critical feedback on the writing of a poetry review which will ultimately be shared with a number of partner publications.

The 8 Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics are:

Dzifa Benson
Mary Jean Chan
Jade Cuttle
Sarala Estruch
Maryam Hessavi
Nasser Hussain
Srishti Krishnamoorthy-Cavell
Jennifer Lee Tsai

Sandeep Parmar, co-founder of the scheme says:
“Whilst it is true that reviewing culture does not reflect the diversity of British poetry, it is also abundantly clear that there are many committed and informed voices out there that deserve a wider audience. We’re delighted to have chosen eight exciting emerging reviewers to mentor through the Emerging Critics Scheme, drawn from a very strong group of critics all of whom are already thinking incisively about how reviewing opens onto a wider discussion about our shared literary culture.”

Sarah Howe, co-founder of the scheme says:
“By nurturing a new wave of critics of colour and offering them a platform, we hope to kick off a wider conversation about race within the culture of reviewing, interrogating and expanding its terms. I can think of nothing more timely.”

The first workshop will take place in late November 2017 in Ledbury, with sessions led by poets Sarah Howe, Sandeep Parmar, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Claire Trévien and Sunday Times Poetry Critic, Jeremy Noel-Tod. The experiences of the participants will be part of a live discussion about poetry reviewing culture and diversity at Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2018.

Further details: Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics participants announcement final 10 Nov

  • Dzifa Benson

The Ledbury Emerging Critics Programme
An intensive eight-month mentorship scheme for 8 emerging BAME poetry critics

The deadline for applications has now passed. 

A national programme to encourage diversity in poetry reviewing culture aimed at emerging critical voices, co-organised by Sandeep Parmar and Sarah Howe.

 In the past decade, publishing and mentorship schemes targeting BAME poets and writers, new profile-raising festivals and readings, national prize winners and judging panels, as well as crucial cultural debates around race, gender and ethnicity, have dramatically improved the diversity of British poetry. However, reviewing culture has not accurately reflected this important shift towards a more inclusive poetry community of readers and writers. As recent statistics show (https://davepoems.wordpress.com), reviewers and poets of colour are hugely underrepresented in broadsheet and journal publications, with just 4.3% reviewers and 8.1% poets from BAME backgrounds.

Over the course of the Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics scheme, you will be assigned a poetry critic mentor with experience reviewing for national journals, magazines (print and online) and broadsheet newspapers. You may already be an emerging critic with a few published reviews, have some or no critical or academic background, or you might be strongly committed to becoming a poetry critic in the very near future and keen to explore issues of diversity in British poetry.

The scheme begins with a two-day poetry reviewing residency at Ledbury on 25th and 26th November 2017, with practical seminars led by Sarah Howe, Sandeep Parmar, Jeremy Noel-Tod and Vidyan Ravinthiran. This will be followed by one-to-one mentorship and critical feedback on the writing of a poetry review before April 2018 (to be conducted either virtually or in-person). Poetry critic mentors include: Sarah Howe, Sandeep Parmar, Jeremy Noel-Tod, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Claire Trévien, Dave Coates, Sam Riviere, Miriam Gamble.

These reviews will be shared with our collaborating partner publications, which are: the Guardian, Poetry Review, Poetry London, PN Review, Poetry Wales, Magma, The White Review, Sabotage, Prac Crit and others. In May 2018, we will reconvene in London for follow-up workshops and a public event with editors from collaborating partners of the scheme. In July 2018, at Ledbury Poetry Festival, we will ask participants to share their experiences as part of a public panel discussion about poetry reviewing culture and diversity.

To apply, send (in hardcopy or a PDF via email) a covering letter expressing your interest and any experience in poetry reviewing. Please tell us why you feel you would benefit from participating in Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics. Also, send a brief sample review of a recent poetry collection, pamphlet or live poetry performance (by any contemporary poet) of up to 800 words. This review may be published or unpublished. Longlisted candidates will be included in a database of reviewers, to be made available to prospective publications.


Please note that this scheme is unfortunately only open to poets/critics resident in the UK. Travel and accommodation as well as costs associated with mentorship and residency/events are entirely funded by the Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize for Best Second Collection.

Advisory Board

Chloe Garner, Ledbury Poetry Festival
Nathalie Teitler, The Complete Works
Rishi Dastidar, The Complete Works
Claire Trévien, Sabotage Reviews
Dave Coates, Dave Poems
Charles Whalley

Ledbury Poetry Festival gratefully acknowledges the generosity of Olga Polizzi whose contribution makes the Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize possible.

Sandeep Parmar wins £5000 inaugural Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize for second poetry collections with ‘sharp, contemporary and lyrical’ Eidolon


Please visit the Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize page for full details.

Listen to Judge Tara Bergin chat about the process of judging the Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize in the two podcasts below:

Shop now open!

Ledbury Poetry Festival has some special offers for you.

Visit our Shop page to find out more.

 Fantastic Beasts

Herefordshire is a county of fantastic beasts and mythical creatures – for example The Dragon of Mordiford plus the minotaur, unicorn and werewolves in the Mappa Mundi. With this in mind we asked you to give us a fantastic beast poem. Click on the Fantastic Beasts button to see what was submitted.

Fantastic Beasts

Ledbury Poetry Salons 

Do you want to discover more about poetry? Have you been looking for a place to perform your own poetry? Why not come along to the Ledbury Poetry Salons, which include an Open Mic and a Featured Poet who will read and discuss their poems. This is a chance to perform your poems to a friendly and welcoming audience and to meet other writers. Expand your enjoyment of poetry through readings and conversation! Try out poems in progress or bring along your tried and tested favourites!



Listen to previous Poetry Salons including Gregory Leadbetter, Rhiannon Hooson, Nichola Deane, Pia Tafdrup, Philip Gross, Deborah Alma, Cliff Yates, Yvonne Green, David Clarke, Myra Connell, Maitreyabandhu, Carrie Etter, Damian Walford Davies and Adam Horovitz.

Poetry Salon Podcasts


Poetica Botanica – poetry inspired by medicinal herbs

Ledbury Poetry Festival and Hellens Garden Festival seek poems inspired by the plants in Hellens Manor Physic Garden.  Some of these were recorded during the 2016 Lebury Poetry Festival and these recordings can now be heard on the Poetica Botanica page.

More Details

Become a Friend of Ledbury Poetry Festival

If you are interested in becoming a Friend of Ledbury Poetry Festival please contact Sandra our Finance Manager on 01531 636232 (email finance@poetry-festival.co.uk) or you can visit the Friends page where you can now sign up on-line.


Some of our Sponsors

Arts Council England Versopolis
 The Pennington-Mellor-Munthe
Charity Trust