Looking ahead to Ledbury Poetry Festival

PUBLISHED: 12:24 06 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:39 20 February 2013

Looking ahead to Ledbury Poetry Festival

Looking ahead to Ledbury Poetry Festival

Poetry Festival Manager Victoria Patch looks back at the 2010 event and forward to this summer's anthology

The 2010 Ledbury Poetry Festival will be hard to beat with ticket sales up to their highest level since the festival began in 1997, thanks to a fantastic programme of poetry featuring international names like the American former poet laureate, Billy Collins, the legendary beat poet Michael McClure, and Forward Prize Best Collection winner Don Paterson. There were performances, workshops, slam events, one-to-one sessions for new writers with publishers, music, song and dance. There were numerous free events; poets thronged the street including the infamous Shedman (no, Im not quite sure what he got up to in that shed either).

Professor Marcus du Sautoy spoke for the first time on poetry and maths, Michael Morpurgo appeared to talk about the poems that have most deeply affected his life and writing, Michael Buerk gave us his desert island poems in conversation with Francine Stock, Roger Lloyd Pack and Jennie Stoller performed Shakespeare in the Courtyard at Hellens. There were talks on Langland and Piers Plowman, Geoffrey Chaucer and Eric Gill, poetry and physics and Emily Dickinson. Events for children and families included Brian Moses, poetry animation workshops and a Colwall Orchard Renga Workshop. Our Estonian poetry and song event was an international highlight. The festival also welcomed poets from Ireland, Australia, the Sudan, Cape Verde, Emirati poets, the renowned Iraqi poet Fadhil al-Azzawi, Punjabi poet Amarjit Chandan and American singer songwriter Josephine Foster whose new album Graphic As A Star is based on the poems of Emily Dickinson. Performed poetry included Martin Figuras moving piece Whistle and the festival climaxed with an evening of comic poets including Radio 4s Saturday Live poet Kate Fox, called Laugh Till it Hurts!

And if you feel tired even reading this youll be relieved to know the festival provided comfy sofas along Church Lane for the festivalgoer to collapse on between events.

Although the festival happens over the summer it runs an extensive community and schools programme throughout the year which I dont think is lauded enough. We have some amazing poets that work with Age UK and Mind, among others to bring poetry and the exploration of language to people who have never had an experience like that before. The results are great imaginative, thoughtful poems from people who never knew they had it in them. The schools programme is highly successful, due to poets like Brian Moses and Philip Wells engaging the childrens interest, encouraging them to write and then giving them the opportunity to perform their work at an event during the festival called Out Loud. The kids have great fun; the event is a riot, all barely controlled by a very brave poet. Also the kids have the opportunity to learn how Shakespeare should be performed in a workshop run by professional actors in the beautiful setting of Hellens Manor. Very popular with the children and teachers alike.

Our annual poetry competition is being brought forward this year Anthony Thwaite, well known to Ledbury Festival goers will judge the adult section we are waiting to hear who will be judge of the childrens.

So although the days are getting colder and the nights longer we are thinking about the summer sun to come and the 10 days of poetry, music, song and dance which fill the streets of Ledbury in July.

Ledbury Poetry Festival 2011 runs from July 1-10


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