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
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.”
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 Alland, Khairani 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.
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
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.