Brenda Read Brown

01. Festival Launch! Showcase and Celebration!

This event showcases poets at all stages of their development. Starting with John Masefield High School pupils. Then Foyle Young Poets Ankita Saxena, Jade Cuttle and Charlotte Wetton. Plus renowned poets appearing at the Festival, including Major Jackson, Zaffar Kunial and Joelle Taylor. Host Brenda Read-Brown

03. Joelle Taylor and Sabrina Mahfouz

Two supreme performers and a relaxed Friday night atmosphere! ‘Joelle Taylor’s a shape-shifter, mythmaker, linguistic risk-taker, poetical activist, surrealist with a raised fist’ (Patience Agbabi). Sabrina Mahfouz is ‘in quite a different league..she speaks lyrically and powerfully…a real find’ (The Times).

05. Refugee Tales with Patrick Gale and Jackie Kay

Showcasing an anthology in which poets and novelists retell the stories of asylum seekers who have suffered at the hands of Britain’s policy of ‘indefinite detention’. In Refugee Tales, poets and novelists retell the true stories of asylum seekers who’ve suffered at the hands of Britain’s policy of ‘indefinite detention’, in the form of a…

06. Poetry and Class Politics in the Age of Austerity with Jane Commane

Expect lots of discussion around class, politics, poetry and the age of austerity and its general effect on the arts, and also barriers to participation. What is the role of art / poetry / publishing in the aftermath of Brexit and where do we want to be, how we can be a part of changing or…

07. The Mighty Stream, Poems In Celebration of Martin Luther King

Reading and discussion. As part of a fifty year anniversary and celebration, this anthology gathers poets from both sides of the Atlantic to address the challenges set out by Dr King. It’s a shock to think how little has changed, and that Martin Luther King could well be speaking right here, right now. In the…

08. Helen Dunmore Tribute

Hosted by Neil Astley, Editor of Bloodaxe Books, this event will celebrate Helen Dunmore’s life, work and particularly her poetry. Helen Dunmore was a great supporter of Ledbury Poetry Festival, coming many times to read, and she contributed a poem to the Festival’s 20th anniversary anthology with a message saying “Ledbury Poetry Festival stores up…

09. Ledbury Poetry Competition Winners Event

Join the 2017 Ledbury International Poetry Competition Winners as they read their winning poems! These are the freshest voices of their generation. LPFPC has been instrumental in launching  many poets’ careers counting among the winners Jacob Polley, Jaqueline Saphra, Maitreyabandhu, Jade Cuttle and many more. Hosted by Festival Manager Phillippa Slinger Reading their poems, either…

13. Poetry Reading: Lachlan MacKinnon and Linda Gregerson

Lachlan MacKinnon’s Doves is a ‘magnificent collection, suffused with gentle wisdom and studded with moments of quiet revelation’ (Scotsman). American poet Linda Gregerson ‘produces lyrical poems informed by her expansive reading that are inquisitive, unflinching, and tender’ (Poetry Foundation).

17. Poetry Reading: Nia Davies and Caroline Bird

T.S.Eliot Prize shortlisted, Caroline Bird’s ‘poems burst with linguistic energy’ (TLS). ‘Nia Davies quietly dismembers the world around her with a gleeful irreverence and quirky humour’ (Geraldine Monk). Bodies. Rhythms. Motion. Sounds. All fours is a debut collection of poetry from Nia Davies, a book of rituals in language that stalk the space between what…

20. Ritual Poetry

Step into the betwixt and between time of ritual to celebrate a new issue of Poetry Wales. Nisha Ramayya invokes a tantric poetics, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett takes a transformative wild swim and Rhys Trimble makes a multilingual dismemberment of the text. Poetry at its most heightened. There may be magic. Presented by Poetry Wales editor Nia…

21. Poetry Reading: Jane Commane and Liz Berry

The magical Liz Berry’s new pamphlet is The Republic of Motherhood. Her first book of poems, Black Country (Chatto 2014) described as a ‘sooty, soaring hymn top her native West Midlands’ (Guardian) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, received a Somerset Maugham Award won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award and Forward Prize for Best First…

27. The Power of Words – 21st Century Mental Health

As Herefordshire Mind celebrates its 40th Birthday, join us to reflect but, more importantly, look forward to how we should consider mental health in the 21st Century. With a rise in public awareness thanks to campaigns such as Time To Change and Heads Together at the same time as health and social care budgets being…

28. Sarah Churchwell on Sylvia Plath

Sarah Churchwell is Professorial Fellow in American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is the author of Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and The Invention of The Great Gatsby and The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe. Her literary journalism has appeared widely in…

33. The Man with the Blue Guitar – an aural/textual immersion

Wallace Stevens: The Whole Harmonium – ‘The belief in poetry is a magnificent fury, or it is nothing’ – Wallace Stevens. See also events 33. 34. and 35. A day bringing to life the poetry of Wallace Stevens (1897-1955) – ‘The best and most representative American poet of our time.’ Harold Bloom. Created by Maitreyabandhu…

34. This Horde of Destructions – new perspectives on Wallace Stevens

Maitreyabandhu hosts a panel with Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics, Maryam Hessavi, Srishti Krishnamoorthy-Cavell and Dzifa Benson, discussing Wallace Stevens’ reputation as a poet, and as a man. Includes discussion and readings. Wallace Stevens introductory video on youtube: ‘Opinion has always been rather sharply divided on Stevens, both as a poet and as a man’ –…

35. Mark Doty on Wallace Stevens: The Palm at the End of the Mind

‘Stevens is a vital part of the American mythology’ – Harold Bloom Part of Wallace Stevens: The Whole Harmonium, a day bringing to life the poetry of Wallace Stevens. The day on Stevens concludes with Maitreyabandhu in conversation with American poet and memoirist, Mark Doty. Mark Doty’s collection My Alexandria won the National Book Critics…

37. Love Songs of WW3 – A tribute to Adrian Mitchell with Sasha Mitchell, Peter Moser and Michael Palin

Love Songs of WW3 is a tribute to Adrian Mitchell performed by comedian, actor, writer and television presenter Michael Palin, Adrian Mitchell’s daughter Sasha Mitchell, as well as by Peter Moser. This unique to Ledbury tribute to Adrian Mitchell featured a selection of songs and poetry celebrating the life and work of one of the…

38. Tony Sharpe on Auden’s Holy Places

Talk focused on the poem, In Praise of Limestone, exploring the reasons why such a landscape came to be described by Auden as ‘sacred’. ‘When I try to imagine a faultless love/ Or the life to come, what I hear is the murmur/ Of underground streams, what I see is a limestone landscape’: thus Auden…

43. Derek Walcott talk by poet Matthew Clegg

Matthew Clegg offers a personal and creative appreciation of the poetry of Derek Walcott – one of the most respected poets to emerge from the Caribbean, and a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Why does a poetry that originates from the tiny island of St Lucia have such resonance with readers all over the…

45. A poetic take on life in and out of Squeeze with Chris Difford

Chris Difford is co-founder of Squeeze, one of Britain’s best loved bands famous for their hit songs “Cool For Cats”, “Up The Junction”, “Another Nail In My Heart”, “Is This Love” and “Labelled With Love” amongst many others.  “Chris will be playing classic Squeeze songs and talking poetry, lyric writing and life lessons in conversation with…

46. Friends of the Dymock Poets present Voices from the Great War

Including Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, three Dymock poets, Eleanor Farjeon, Vera Brittain, Carola Oman and the American, Alan Seeger. The poems are read by Marilyn Birks and Jake Herbst. (Unfortunately the first 10 minutes of this event were not recorded)

49. “I don’t give back a word”: National Poetry Competition 40th anniversary readings

This year’s winners Dom Bury, Mary Jean Chan and Momtaza Mehri read alongside two poetry greats from the competition’s heritage Jo Shapcott and Pascale Petit. Plus short discussion and Q&A.  

50. The Personal is Political

Join Pascale Petit, Kim Moore and Deborah Alma with Roz Goddard, in conversation and reading from #MeToo – rallying against sexual assault and harassment: A women’s poetry anthology – edited Deborah Alma and published by Fair Acre Press. “This collection is quite the rollercoaster: it made me cry with sadness – and with joy. I…

58. Sinéad Morrissey

Sinéad Morrisey reads poetry from her Forward winning collection On Balance and chat about her poetry and writing life with Virago founder and editor Ursula Owen. On Balance ‘is a breathtaking feat, blending fiction, memoir and history’ (The Guardian). And in 2018 The Sunday Times featured her as one of Twelve Poets to Read Now…

59. Poetry Reading: Raymond Antrobus, Peter Raynard and Josephine Corcoran

‘A set of rollicking dispatches from a Britain rarely ever heard from except in the disparaging tones of others. Peter Raynard details the toll this exacts on all of us with a rare, almost brutal frankness’ (Mona Arshi). Peter Raynard is the editor of Proletarian Poetry: poems of working class lives (www.proletarianpoetry.com), which has featured…

66. Found Voices with Sara-Jane Arbury

In early 2018, Joined Up Heritage commissioned Sara-Jane Arbury to write poems inspired by eight Ledbury heritage sites using words found within the buildings themselves, and from First World War poetry. The poems will create a unique walking trail for the town. Join Sara-Jane as she launches the trail with an entertaining poetic tour around…

67. Ledbury Forte Second Collection Prize Showcase and Celebration

With winner Sandeep Parmar and shortlisted poets Judy Brown, Emma Hammond, John McCullough and John Clegg. Find out more about each poet below. For more information about the prize, see https://www.poetry-festival.co.uk/ledbury-forte-poetry-prize/ Read the judges comments on each collection Tara Bergin’s Comments and Vahni Capildeo’s Comments   Emma Hammond’s first collection, tunth-sk, was published in 2011 by Flipped…

70. Modern Poetry in Translation Summer Launch

Join Modern Poetry in Translation’s editor Clare Pollard to celebrate the summer’s LGBTQ focus. With Mary Jean Chan discussing queerness and the concept of ‘Playtime’; Richard Scott reading versions of Verlaine and new translations of Jayan Cherian; Jennifer Lee Tsai picking her highlights.        

73. A Normal Imagination with Henry Normal

Henry Normal, co-writer of The Royle Family and other comedy hits, presents his unique brand of poetry, stories and humour as heard on BBC Radio 4. Henry Normal’s poetry collections include The Dream Ticket, Is Love Science Fiction?, Map of Heaven and Nude Modelling for the Afterlife. Sponsored by Stuart and Wendy Houghton

77. American Stars Marie Howe and Jericho Brown

Hosted by Bloodaxe Books editor Neil Astley. Marie Howe’s poetry is ‘luminous, intense, and eloquent, rooted in an abundant  inner life’ (Stanley Kunitz). Howe’s latest collection is Magdalene and Jericho Brown’s is The New Testament. ‘To read Jericho Brown’s poems is to encounter devastating genius’ (Claudia Rankine). Marie Howe is the author of four volumes of poetry: Magdalene:…

79. Ukrainian Translation Duel

Translators Uilleam Blacker and Iryna Shuvalova are en garde to fight a poetry translation duel at Ledbury Festival 2018. Uilleam and Iryna discuss their different translations of a single poem by contemporary Ukrainian poet Kateryna Kalytko, who will appear at the Festival as part of Versopolis. Compare and contrast the two translators’ approaches to a…

83. Jan Wagner and Iain Galbraith

Jan Wagner is one of the most important German-language poets of the younger generation. Poetry readings and discussion with his award-winning translator Iain Galbraith. Jan Wagner was born in Hamburg in 1971 and now lives in Berlin. A poet, essayist and translator of British and American poetry he has published six volumes of poetry and has…

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