Ledbury Poetry Festival 30th June-9th July 2017

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Ledbury is the prettiest market town in Herefordshire. The Ledbury Poetry Festival is held at The Master’s House, St Katherine’s, Bye Street. En route you will see the streets’s distinct black and white timber architecture and lot’s of indie shops and hidden cafes serving local produce leaving you with a cosy feeling inside. So quaint and so convenient to roam in between events.

Upon arriving in Ledbury you’ll notice the Black and White Market Hall adjacent to it the bus service that runs to and from the town and as you cross the street you’ll see signs for The Masters House. Notably, the Market hall was built in 1653 by the King’s Carpenter John Abel. Markets are still held every Tuesdays and Saturdays.



Some Festival Highlights


Sean Hughes by Debra Hurford Brown

Friday 30th June
Sean Hughes Poetry and Stand-up
9pm–10pm | Community Hall (bar available) £9  

You’ll recognize Sean from the BBC’s hit quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He will be at the festival to read from his collection “My Struggle to be decent.”


Sara-Jane Arbury at the Think Slam

Thursday 6th July 2017
The Cause: The Struggle Goes On

7pm-8pm | The Burgage Hall | £9

Historian Jan Long will be giving a talk on The Cause which was a Feminist movement in the Victorians times. Sara Jane Arbury will be reading suffragette poetry and other fascinating pieces.



Saturday 8th July 2017
Stairs & Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back

3.30pm–5pm | Community Hall | £9

The Festival’s brochure explains :

Stairs & Whispers is a major UK anthology of poetry and essays from D/deaf and disabled writers, published by Nine Arches Press. Join writers, disability activists and co-editors of this groundbreaking anthology – Sandra AllandKhairani Barokka and Daniel Sluman – for an afternoon of readings, performances, films, and discussion around disability poetics, D/deaf culture, and poetry as text, performance, recording and translation. At this accessible venue in a BSL-interpreted set, the Stairs and Whispers editors will present poems from the book. They will be joined by several other writers and performers from the anthology, live or via captioned film-poems in BSL and English. Poets include Rachael Boast, Markie Burnhope, Andra Simons, Gary Austin Quinn, Nuala Watt, Bea Webster and Donna Williams.

In a political climate that constantly threatens to marginalise disabled and D/deaf people, Ledbury Poetry Festival hosts this afternoon of poetry and discussion that explores, empowers and represents the realities of disabled and D/deaf poets in their own words.

Sandra Alland’s work includes Blissful Times and Naturally Speaking and Khairani Barokka’s works include Indigenous Species and Rope Daniel Sluman has two books: Absence has a weight of its own and The Terrible.



Saturday 1st July 2017
Bejan Matur and Jen Hadfield

11am–12noon | Burgage Hall | £9

Acclaimed Kurdish poet Bejan Matur presents
a new chapbook of her poems, in English
translation by T.S. Eliot Prize-winning poet Jen
Hadfield. It will be an electrifying hour of poetry in Kurdish, Turkish and English, by a pair of poets whose work explores the language of landscape and of home.





Saturday 8th July 2017
Kayo Chingonyi and Miriam Nash
6pm–7pm | Burgage Hall | £9

Warsan Shire has gone on record as saying Kayo Chingonyi’s poetry is “… Tender, nostalgic and, at times, darkly hilarious exploration of black boyhood, masculinity and grief.”

Miriam Nash’s collection first Voices of the Isle of Erraid echo through , All the Prayers in the House. The poems take the form of songs, letters, fragments, formal verse – many kinds of prayer perhaps, for many kinds of storm. The poems of KayoKumakanda range between worlds, ancestral and contemporary; between the living and the dead; between the gulf of who he is and how he is perceived.




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Sunday 9th July 2017
Versopolis: A Celebration of Emerging European Poets
4.15pm–5.30pm | Market Theatre
Free but ticketed
This is a much anticpated annual highlight. Hear the works of the following Poets Tiziano Fratus (Italy), Charlotte Van de Broeck (Belgium), Nikolina Andova(Macedonia), Veronika Dintinjana (Slovenia), Yekta (France) will share the stage with two of their UK counterparts, Kayo Chingonyi and Helen Mort.

Versopolis is a European poetry platform that creates new opportunities for emerging European poets and is supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme. 

View a selection of their poetry here.

View full programme here

Book Tickets Online



192pp D8vo

Hwaet! 20 Years of Ledbury Poetry Festival
edited by Mark Fisher

‘Hwaet!’ (rhyming with cat) is the opening word of the great Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf and other poems of that time. It means ‘Listen!’ or ‘How…’ or ‘So…’ – a calling for attention. Which is what hundreds of poets have been saying, both in their work as well as in numerous, highly memorable readings to Ledbury audiences over 20 years.

Mark Fisher’s anthology, Hwaet!, brings together 200 new poems by a wide range of poets who have delighted audiences at Ledbury Poetry Festival over 20 years as well as poems by some unforgettable visitors no longer with us who will always be remembered in Ledbury. Scattered between the poems are anecdotes contributed by poets and others offering a sense of the diverse flavour of an international poetry festival which is possibly unusual in being created, nurtured and loved by the community in which it is based.

The poets saying ‘Hwaet!’ include writers from all parts of Britain and Ireland, from North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. They include writers who’ve been poet-in-residence or worked on popular community and schools projects in Ledbury along with winners of the Ledbury Poetry Competition.

The proceeds from the sale of this book go directly to Ledbury Poetry Festival Schools programme.

Get a copy on the festival’s shop. There’s also a Tote Bag and Commemorative Bowls available on their online shop.


Box Office: 01531 636232
If you feel inspired to do so there is a page to make a donation to support this Poetry Festival. Link here.
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Audrina Lane interviews Local Poet

Ross-on-Wye Author Audrina Lane interviews Local poet Catherine Vaughan

Interview originally conducted by Audrina Lane (Author of The Heart Trilogy) and first posted on Facebook.com/AudrinasPlace.


Get her books here: http://amzn.to/2bLCeDw
Follow her on Twitter: @AudrinaLane

Read Audrina’s Author Q&A for Herefordshire Writers here.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? 

My name is Catherine I’m a Hereford born and based Author & Poet. I’ve had dreams of creating my own Bohemian existence since I was a teenager having my first poem published at 15 in a competition run by Young Writers. A decade on I published my first collection of poems in May 2015 aptly titled The Quarter Life Crisis Poet. I’m currently working on a novel which will be Book 1 of a Bohemian Love story called “Welcome to Wonderland.” I find the Writer’s life very solitary so from that loneliness I launched the site: HerefordshireWriters.co.uk which is how I’ve now managed to connect with the lovely Audrina Lane and showcase thriving literary talent in our county.

What made you start to write poetry?

It was a case of alignment. In Summer 2005 I bought John Mayer’s album Room for Squares. He’s an American singer-songwriter and guitar player. It was the first time in my life I encountered not only meaningful lyrics but words and music composed so beautifully together. I admired the attention to detail and craftsmanship. Around that time, I was doing my GCSE’s and in the English Literature classes we were analysing and studying poems. The juxtaposition of my discovering deep and well-composed song lyrics whilst studying poetry in school ignited an active interest in me to actually write poems.

And would you like to share one of your first poems?

I was actually clearing out the garage and stumbled upon old school books over the summer. I can share this one little poem I wrote in November 2000, at age 10.

Hedgehog at Night

Its spikes look like the thorn of pain
Its eyes glint at the hundred stars
Its beady eyes stare out
Its tiny feet woddle around in the grass
Its little nose has a cute bead and reminds me of a button
It’s a Hedgehog.

  1. Do you have a favourite poet? If so would you like to share your favourite poem by them?

Nowadays I lean more towards the new breed of “instapoets” (poets that post on social media sites like tumblr and Instagram) like Tyler Knott Gregson and Rupi Kaur. I follow Jessica Michelle on Instagram @_Jessica.Michelle_

I like that she has audacity to unleash her true feelings, the feelings that we don’t dare confess but if we had the bravery as she does to confess these emotions we’d see how connected and similar our experiences in life are. That we’re all going through pain…

Do you like to write poems on a particular subject or do you prefer to just grab inspiration when it strikes?

I write poems about the feelings and experiences I cannot disclose. Poetry is my way of saying what happened to me, admitting the pain and telling the painful events in my life without having to reveal the full situation. There’s this unique juxtaposition of openness and vulnerability yet keeping the truth veiled; because the truth is too painful to express fully in prose.

Please share with me your 3 favourite poems that you’ve written and explain your choices?

Lost generation is a pretty self-explanatory poem. I wrote it age 20 after dropping out of Law school and feeling the usual angst against establishments and society as a whole. This poem is also prophetic of my path to my romanticised idea of Bohemia and the literary life. (Which I made happen 5 years later.)

“Lost Generation”

We are the heir
To Blair
In academia we make our bet
They get into debt.
Fortune is linear?
Starve, charge and never recharge.
Let’s get skinnier.

We are living it up
Naivety of a pup
In the workplace we are like slaves
Then at night we rave.

Our big break will come.
Chase, trace and encase.
To the beat of our drum

But I will not succumb
You are all so dumb
Here I become
And then some…

An artist.
I escaped to Bohemia
Away from academia
Ran from the curse
In my converse
And then some

Ran away from academia
Away from the curse
In my converse
To Bohemia.


This poem is my attempt at redefining “luxury” steering it away from what consumer-based society wants us to believe it is. For a long while art, writing etc was out of my life. I couldn’t create as I naturally would have in younger years, things were so horrid that I couldn’t see past the chaos I had been put in. So now having made the switch back to embracing the arts in my life it feels like a luxury like it’s something precious to have back. Given all the sadness and unhappy circumstances that can arise in life I now feel it’s a luxury to have interests in philosophy, illustration whatever else because there was a time in life when it was just about survival and happiness and creativity couldn’t exist, it just didn’t have the chance to.


Poetry is a luxury.
Illustration is a luxury.
My Heart.
Your Art.

Redefining luxury.
All I need is my
Shaker Hymn.
So long as S & M
does not win.
How I love
to speak in this riddle.

Who is the cat
who is the fiddle?
The sheep that howls….
But now I’m off to bed.
Dreaming of you in my head.
Not that long ago
I wanted to be dead.

But I must go on.
You must go on.
We must go on.
With Simple Living.
Plain People.
Life in The Shire.


Unpublished poems

I’ve started jotting down these smaller, sharper poems that concisely utter the pain, dichotomy and agony of emotions.

Love me or lie to me
It’s all the same?
What’s the difference?


“By and Bye”
I dream about you
But I wake up without you

I’m in love with you
But I can’t be with you


Where can people find more of your work?

Twitter: @CattVaughan
Books: http://amzn.to/2bAOCpJ
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/CatherineVaughanWriter
The Quarter Life Crisis Poet available in

Paperback  The Quarter Life Crisis Poet 300 DPI                                       Kindle                kindle QLC

Instagram: @HerefordshireWriters

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Poet in Residence: Adam Horovitz


We’re so honoured to have Adam Horovitz as our October feature during his Herefordshire Poet Residency. It was a series of fortunate events when our Editor Catherine Vaughan was reading at Ledbury Poetry Festival for Community Segments and Horovitz was in attendance of the event to support and watch new talent in the county plus host his own readings for the festival.

Adam Horovitz was born in London in 1971. He is the son of poets Michael and Frances Horovitz. After his parents separated, he lived with his mother and stepfather Roger Garfitt in Sunderland and Herefordshire. With poetry in his blood he has been writing poems since childhood.

Having started out in the performance poetry scene in the early 1990s, Horovitz slowly moved towards balancing his work between page and stage. Before his first collection, Turning, came out in 2011, he released two pamphlets and worked as poet in residence for the Borkowski PR agency and as poet in residence for the Glastonbury Festival’s official website in 2009. He was a Versopolis poet for Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2015. Currently Horovitz is Herefordshire’s Poet in Residence 2015-2016.

Tell us about your time as Poet in Residence for our county?

One splendid highlight was when I was commissioned to write a poem about The Master’s House during it’s inaugural year. (The Master’s House is one of the oldest buildings in the market town of Ledbury, it now houses Ledbury’s library alongside the Archives of revered former Poet Laureate John Masefield.)

I became so fired up by the subject matter after discovering an article about old Herefordshire dialect words suddenly all the dots connected and I fused the interviews with Friends of the Master’s House, my research into John Masefield and the time I had spent looking at the restoration work in that stunning building into something workable in my head. In the end, I tried stuffing 800 years of certain aspects of the town’s history into eight poems, using quotes from Masefield, the records of Master Edward Cowper, dialect and interviews. I wrote a sequence of eight poems, in the space of a weekend , which have been collected into a pamphlet called Wattle & Daub. I am delighted to say that the residency has forced me to be more ambitious, and it has certainly rekindled my love of the county.

How did you decide that poetry was a path you too would follow as your parents were poets?

I grew up surrounded by poetry and poets, so the rhythms were a natural part of my upbringing. That said, I might not have gone on to write as an adult had my mother not died when I was 12. I spent my teenage years writing poems as a way of keeping up a correspondence with her and by the time I reached adulthood, it was the thing I cared most about doing and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

What advice would you give a new budding poet?

Write. Write more. Read everything you can get your hands on, ancient and modern. Read outside your comfort zone. Listen to other poets reading aloud when you can. Read their work aloud to yourself, or to others if they’ll let you. Read your own work aloud. Taste the sound of words. Write. Write more. But also make sure you spend time living outside the world of poetry and letting the rhythms of life filter in.  Do not expect a career out of poetry, just keep on careering through life trying to write more effectively.

How significant is the spoken word platform in a digital age?

Social media and YouTube is to poetry in performance what pamphleteering was to poetry 200 years ago – an ideal way of getting a point across in the hope that it will lead to further interest. It is an essential tool, and I have discovered a lot of poetry through it. It is also particularly good for hearing poetry in other languages, something that I find very useful, even if I don’t have the translations in front of me  – I love listening to the different music and sounds of foreign language poetry.


Like Waiting for Rural Buses

Sometimes writing poems
is like waiting for rural buses.
Nothing comes. You stare at hedgerows.
Argue with crows. A little more
nothingness on the pitted tarmac.

Blown out umbrella, the sky a black,
expectant lattice. People pass in cars,
laugh at your predicament.
Then rain, a persistent mizzle
that sticks like oil.

About to go home, the light
an hour away from failing,
a rackety bus crawls to a halt,
takes you on the scenic route
whilst a little old lady,

clinging determined to the seat in front,
fixes you with one angelic eye,
sucks her teeth and tells you
absolutely everything
you never thought you’d want to know.

(Written during his Herefordshire residency)

Last Night She Saw Badgers

He stands at the school gate
hunched and trembling
like a tree at winter’s rise.
The air is glue. I wade to him, each step
taking all of my twelve years.
He is grey as the rope we found in Orkney,
coiled and faded on the cliffs of Ronaldsay,
worn out with hoping for the rescue
that would never come.
The car is waiting.
We must go to London now, he says.
Death waits in the car, unspeaking.
I too am silent. The blood rushing
in my ears like howling trees
is noise enough for me.
I do not grasp the journey.
It is over in moments.
I am contracting time to reach my mother
in her sad bed in the stale ward
where my two plastic Star Wars toys
stand against the coming dark.
Too long I have waited in the deathly quiet
of the Vicar’s house, unspeaking, ungrateful,
mapping out how I will run away to London

Do you have a favourite word?

I do. I believe, however, that if you aspire to write, you shouldn’t announce your favourite word. You should, like a good parent with many children, attempt to love all words equally, in public at least.

What book are you currently reading?

I’m in the midst of rereading Middlemarch, which is even more glorious than I had remembered – I last read it when I was a teenager. I’m interspersing this with poems from Alice Oswald’s Falling Awake. It’s quite a potent combination.

Are there any notable literary blogs you enjoy?

Clare Pollard’s occasional blog is always worth reading, as is Katy Evans-Bush’s Baroque in Hackney. I like the Sabotage Reviews website too.


Horovitz has released several works since 2011, notably A Thousand Laurie Lees, a poetically charged memoir of growing up in the Slad Valley, to coincide with Laurie Lee’s centenary year in 2014, and Little Metropolis, a CD of poetry and music, originally commissioned as a show for the 2015 Stroud Fringe Festival. He is currently working on a second full collection of poetry and a lyrical study of pasture farming in Britain.

Next Year in Jerusalem (pamphlet, Hoo-Hah, 2004)
The Great Unlearning (pamphlet, Hoo-Hah, 2009)
Turning (Headland, 2011) – first full collection
A Thousand Laurie Lees (History Press, 2014)
Only the Flame Remains (pamphlet, Yew Tree, 2014)
Little Metropolis (CD & book, 2015)


• Twitter:@AdamHorovitz
• Blog:AdamHorovitz.co.uk/blog

Instagram: @HerefordshireWriters

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Author & Poet: Catherine Vaughan

Official Author Photo         The Quarter Life Crisis Poet 300 DPI         FINALCOMLETECOVERECZEMA-PERFECTnv NO trim


Hereford born and based Author and Poet Catherine Vaughan writes an eclectic array of publications from poetry, short stories plus a forthcoming debut novel titled Welcome to Wonderland. She is a multi-genre writer and a blogging enthusiast!

Notably Vaughan is the founder and editor of our literary network Herefordshire Writers. Longing to negate the solitary side of the Writer’s Life, Catherine started this multi-platform network to connect with fellow writer’s in the county and document the blossoming bohemian scene in Herefordshire alongside celebrating our world-class cultural heritage.

Highlights of Vaughan’s writer’s path have been publishing her first book a collection of poems written between 2010-2015 aptly titled The Quarter Life Crisis Poet, performing her first solo poetry event, at the Bohemian hang-out of Hereford: De Koffie Pot cafe. She’s also appeared in Hay Festival’s Talking about Shakespeare short film and performed at Ledbury Poetry Festival 2016 for Community Segments.

You can receive updates on her forthcoming publications, media appearances and events by signing up to the Mailing List on www.CatherineVaughan.com.

Extracts of the Author’s work:


We are the heir
To Blair
In academia we make our bet
They get into debt.

Fortune is linear?
Starve, charge and never recharge.
Let’s get skinnier.

We are living it up
Naivety of a pup
In the workplace we are like slaves
Then at night we rave.

Our big break will come.
Chase, trace and encase.
To the beat of our drum

But I will not succumb
You are all so dumb
Here I become

And then some…

An artist.
I escaped to Bohemia

Away from academia
Ran from the curse
In my converse
And then some

Ran away from academia
Away from the curse
In my converse
To Bohemia



The Quarter life Crisis Poet: a collection of poems on pain, heartbreak and defiance by a twenty-something   |   9780993408908    |   Kindle   |   Paperback

How to Heal Eczema Naturally: a quick self-help guide to learn the secrets of healthy skin   |   9780993408915                     Kindle   |   Paperback

Connect Online:

Official Site   |   www.CatherineVaughan.com

Browse books   |   AMAZON

            Facebook:   /CatherineVaughanWriter           Twitter:   @CattVaughan

Facebook: /HerefordshireWriters
Twitter: @HFDShireWriters
Instagram: @HerefordshireWriters
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