BOOKING INFORMATION Please note â€“ in line with many other arts organizations / festivals concessionary prices apply ONLY to minors (under-18s), to fulltime students under the age of 25 and to those officially registered as disabled or unemployed. They do not apply to OAPS.
appropriate. *Or search for Cheltenham Poetry Festival Booking. For all events except those held on The Playhouse Main Stage: On-line and telephone booking is available from TicketSource (via the Festival website above).
You can buy your tickets in advance on-line, by phone or by calling into Suffolk Anthology Bookshop (or the Playhouse for events held on the Main Stage there).
Alternatively, you can buy tickets, in person, from Suffolk Anthology Bookshop, 17 Suffolk Parade, Cheltenham,GL50 2AE, 01242 361362. (Suffolk Anthology now accepts credit and debit cards.)
IT PAYS TO BUY IN ADVANCE. Please note that, although tickets may still be bought on the door, tickets bought in advance are, in most cases, ÂŁ1 cheaper than those on the door. Workshops must be booked in advance.
N.B. Tickets for events held in the Playhouse Lounge and the Playhouse Committee Room should be booked in this way and not via The Playhouse Box Office.
All events may be booked on-line via www.cheltenhampoetryfest.co.uk/festival-2017,* where there are links, keyed to each event, to TicketSource or to The Playhouse as
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CONCESSIONARY PRICES APPLY TO MINORS (UNDER-18S), TO FULL-TIME STUDENTS UNDER THE AGE OF 25 AND TO THOSE OFFICIALLY REGISTERED AS DISABLED OR UNEMPLOYED.
WELCOME TO THE 2017
The Directors wish to extend their heartfelt thanks to all those who help to make the Festival a success and especially to our Friends and Patrons, who include Dr R.V.Bailey, Annie Ellis, Jennie Farley, Gill Garrett, Chris Hemingway, Bill Holloway, Lesley Ingram, Michael Newman, Kate Saunders, Sheila Saunders, Michael Scaife dâ€™Ingerthorpe and Howard & Marilyn Timms - and not least to those who wish to remain anonymous. We would like to especially thank our Life Patron Annie Ellis.
Details of the Friends and Patrons Scheme may be found at
A big thank you also to Headline Sponsor Lodders Solicitors, who, in one guise or another, have supported the Festival since its launch in 2010 John Oldham of The Oldham Foundation for his generous support of the Festival over the years The other sponsors of the Festival - the Arts Council England, the University of Gloucestershire, the Cheltenham Lawn Hotel, the Suffolk Anthology Bookshop, The Little Letting Shop, Cheltenham Cycles, Cheltenham Town House Hotel and Glide Media The Festival Board who support the Festival throughout the year; Chris Hemingway, Angela France, David Clarke, Jennie Farley and Howard and Marilyn Timms Our Media Partner The Gloucestershire Echo Cheltenham Borough Council and The Cheltenham Trust The volunteers without whose help in the management and stewarding of events the Festival could not run Dan Cooper & Fat Flyers for their inspired and richly imaginative designs The Playhouse for hosting so many events this year and, in particular, Paul Scott for his patient support of the Festival The other venues that host our events, both during the Festival and at other times during the year
Please consider becoming a Friend or Patron and supporting our valuable work.
Helene Hewett of the Suffolk Anthology Bookshop for her invaluable help with the sale of tickets and for her work in promoting poetry and literature in Cheltenham
Ben Parker picture on front cover â€“ credit Robbie Elford
And a special thank you to Howard Timms Cheltenham Poetry Festival Webmaster. 3.
THURSDAY MAY 4
CHAPTER AND VERSE WITH TYLER KEEVIL AND D.D. JOHNSTONE 7pm, Smokey Joe’s, £6/5
Tyler Keevil is the author of three awardwinning books and has been praised for his lean muscular style, gripping plots and has been described as “extending and enriching the lineage of Hemingway and Carver” by Niall Griffiths. D.D.Johnstone is the author of three fiercely original novels. His work has been described as “ambitious, erudite” (The Warwick Review) and as “unputdownable” (Northern Soul). Dr Michael Johnstone (who writes under the name D.D. Johnstone) is University Teaching Fellow and a senior lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. Tyler Keevil is a senior lecturer in Creative Writing. Sponsored by the University of Gloucestershire. D.D. JOHNSTONE
FLASH FICTION SHOWCASE 8.30pm, Smokey Joe’s, free. Students and staff from the Creative Writing course at the University of Gloucestershire read new flash and micro-fiction inspired by poetry. Don’t miss your chance to hear some exciting contemporary writing Hot off the press! Led by Michael Johnstone, senior lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. 4.
FRIDAY MAY 5 HOW TO ANALYSE POETRY WITH JOHN HUGHES 11am, Oxfam, £8/6 John Hughes teaches literature at the University of Gloucestershire and has published widely, particularly on Thomas Hardy and William Wordsworth. In this enlightening and interactive poetryappreciation class, you will have the chance to explore poems under John’s expert guidance and leave with a greater understanding of how to analyse poetry.
THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A LIST POEM – A WORKSHOP WITH BEN PARKER 2.30pm, Tailors, £15 From passages in Homer’s Iliad to Wallace Stephen’s masterpiece 13 Ways to Look at a Blackbird, and beyond, list poems have proved a powerful and persuasive form of verse. Ben Parker, Poetry Editor of Critical Survey and the author of two acclaimed collections of poetry, leads this workshop in which you will explore the form and write your very own list poem.
FRIDAY MAY 5
MATTHEW SWEENEY AND BEN PARKER 7pm, Smokey Joe’s, £8/6
Matthew Sweeney is one of our greatest living poets, renowned for the visionary brilliance of his work and his bold and lyrical voice. Ted Hughes praised him for the “playful free, dream flight” of his poems. Horse Music was described as “a wonderful collection, madcap, laconic, and provocative too” (The Independent), and Manchester Review described Sweeney as “a hugely talented poet writing at the height of his powers”. Matthew reads new poems from My Life as a Painter alongside prose poems from King of a Rainy Country, which explore the current edgy state of Paris and respond to Baudelaire’s prose poems, Le Spleen de Paris. Ben Parker reads from his startling and energetic first collection The Amazing Lost Man (Eyewear 2016), in which he explores real and imagined territories and reports back in poems that are both darkly funny and vividly descriptive.
SATURDAY MAY 6 THE MONTPELLIER WRITERS’ GROUP 11am, Oxfam, free The Montpellier Writers’ Group was founded by presenter and author Liggy Webb over 10 years ago, and its members include published poets and writers. In this rich and varied showcase, members of the group respond to the festival theme ‘The Future’ in poetry and flash fiction.
CHELTENHAM POETRY SOCIETY CHELTENHAM 300 2pm, St Andrew’s Church, £6/5 What does a book commemorating the Tercentenary of Cheltenham as spa town have to do with the Festival’s theme of The Future? As world events repeatedly remind us, it’s wise to go forward with one eye on the past, to avoid repeating mistakes! Poets from Cheltenham Poetry Society read from their new anthology, Cheltenham 300: poems and photographs to mark 300 years of the town as a spa. There might even be projection!
GOD SAVE THE TEEN 8.30pm, Smokey Joe’s, £7/5 In his hilarious yet heartfelt new show, acclaimed performance poet Andrew ‘Mulletproof’ Graves recounts his past life as a council youth worker, offering tales of drugs, relationships, bullying, parental break ups, starry-eyed punks and disappearing goths. Interwoven through this narrative are his own childhood stories about trying to come to terms with an aloof and difficult single father, who is unsympathetic towards his ‘poncey’ poetic leanings.
ANDREW MULLETPROOF GRAVES
SATURDAY MAY 6 (CONTINUED) DYLAN THOMAS – NEW DISCOVERIES WITH JOHN GOODBY
modulated yet stirringly wild.” The event also includes a reading from Jane’s new collection The Occupant and a chance for questions. ODIOUS VEX
3.30pm, St Andrew’s Church, £7/5 In this UK premier event internationally acclaimed Dylan expert and poet, John Goodby reveals exciting new Dylan poetry, Thomas correspondence and photos. Highlights include a glimpse of the recentlydiscovered Dylan Thomas notebook, a reading of a mysterious unknown letter, and an account of the Thomas family by their GP. John will also talk about Dylan’s recently discovered poem The Dream of Winter- and the haunting photos that accompany it. A must for every Dylan fan! Sponsored by Annie Ellis.
PEARL – JANE DRAYCOTT 5pm, St Andrew’s Church, £7/5 Part of the same 14th-century manuscript as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, also written in its dialect, Pearl is an intricately wrought 1200-line elegiac poem in which a father grieves for his small daughter, dead before her second birthday. This wrenchingly beautiful vision of love and bereavement has been translated by acclaimed poet Jane Draycott, and, according to The Independent, “The glamour, even glitz, of its view of paradise across the river of death dazzles as never before in modern English”. David Morley described it as “marvellously 6.
ODIOUS VEX AND FRIENDS 7pm, Smokey Joe’s, £7/5 Spend an hour with Swindon’s number one rapper and paintballer Odious. Expect some surprising characters and strange poets, all of whom are friends of friends of Odious’s Mum. Join us for urban poetry inspired by injuries sustained during skateboarding, how war isn’t very nice at all and the dangers of your Gran looking at your Facebook account!
SLAM DUNKUM! A SLAM CHAMP SHOWCASE WITH JASMINE GARDOSI, AL BRUNKER, LEXIA TOMLINSON 8.30pm, Smokey Joe’s, £7/5 Jasmine Gardosi is the current Cheltenham Poetry Festival Slam Champion and last year’s Mix It Up Midlands Slam Champion. She has appeared on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb and was a finalist in the Out-Spoken Poetry Prize for Performance 2015. Al Brunker is the current Ledbury Poetry Festival Slam winner renowned for his hilarious, edgy and unpredictable performances. Lexia Tomlinson exploded onto the scene at the Future Poets festival which she helped produce at the age of 17 and since then she has gone from strength to strength. Don’t miss the rare chance to see three smoking hot slam stars on one stage!
SUNDAY MAY 7 POETIC POSSESSIONS AND OBSESSIONS - A WORKSHOP WITH MICHAEL SCOTT
11am, The Playhouse Committee Room, £15 How can we make our poetry artistically beautiful and stylistically surreal? In this innovative and inspiring workshop, we will explore the surreal through poems by Russell Edson, Amber Tamblyn, Cesar Vallejo, Dante and Rilke and learn how letting the imagination run wild can enrich our work. Michael Scott is the author of the visionary and experimental Little Usherette - a sellout chapbook with The Red Ceilings Press in 2016.
poignancy, and preternatural clarity (“Full of precise and telling detail and powerful and memorable imagery” - Jonathan Edwards). William Wootten has been described as “an original talent in full flower.” The acclaimed You Have a Visitor is a book of songs and stories. Its 52 poems are arranged to reflect the English seasons.
THE FUTURE - IN YOUR OWN WORDS 5pm, The Playhouse Lounge, free Poets from the Tewkesbury-based In Your Own Words Poetry Group read new work responding to the festival’s theme of ‘ The Future’. With award-winning poet Miki Byrne. PAUL STEPHENSON
MICHAEL SCOTT WITH SAM LOVELESS & ALEX BREEZE
2pm, The Playhouse Lounge, £7/5 Startlingly experimental and groundbreakingly original, Michael Scott is one of the UK’s most interesting poets. (“This man could write the sequel to Citizen Kane on the back of a fag packet, and still surpass the original”- Dangerous Minds). Michael reads from Little Usherette - a dazzling collection of prose poems. Joining Michael are two exciting new voices in contemporary poetry - Sam Loveless and Alex Breeze.
WORPLE PRESS SHOWCASE
3.30pm, The Playhouse Lounge , £7/5 A showcase of poetry from the prestigious Worple Press. Linda Saunders’ new collection A Touch on the Remote shows “the world cherished by our watchfulness, life lived in rapt attention” (Carrie Etter). John Freeman’s tenth collection of poems, What Possessed Me, evokes childhood memories and lifelong relationships with humour,
REGO RETOLD AND THE DAYS THAT FOLLOWED PARIS - PAUL STEPHENSON AND OWEN LOWERY 7pm, The Playhouse Lounge, £7/5
Explosive events on the world stage and the dramatic, sometimes violent images of Paula Rego are themes explored in this powerful poetry pairing. Paul Stephenson has been 7.
SUNDAY MAY 7 (CONTINUED) praised for his “thrilling” poems and Poet Billy Collins said his “satiric brilliance might make a reader wish to hear more, ideally over a pint or two.” Paul reads from The Days that Followed Paris, a poetic response to the events of 13 November 2015, the night of a series of co-ordinated terrorist attacks. Owen Lowery, described by The Guardian as a “remarkable” writer, reads from Rego Retold - his highly acclaimed collection inspired by the work of artist Paula Rego.
DEAD POETS LIVE – ASPECTS OF LOVE 8.30pm, The Playhouse Lounge, £7/5 Dead Poets Live are back after their popular and entertaining event last year. This group of actors/poets from Cheltenham Playhouse perform classic poetry on the theme of love. This special event, devised by Marilyn Timms, also includes a performance of poems by the Bronte sisters. Actors Sophie Flowers, Ben Lowater and Howard & Marilyn Timms are joined by Festival Co-director Robin Gilbert.
MONDAY MAY 8 TRICIA TORRINGTON WORKSHOP: A FRESH SYNTAX 2.30pm, The Playhouse Committee Room, £15 Acclaimed poet and print maker Tricia Torrington leads this inspiring poetry class. The workshop will take you through some new writing exercises, with an emphasis on imaginative language, ranging from thoughtprovoking use of metaphor to unusual and interesting editing techniques. 8.
BEGINNING WITH YOUR LAST BREATH - ROY MCFARLANE, MICHAEL HENRY AND TRICIA TORRINGTON 7pm, The Playhouse Lounge, £6/5 What happens when a husband and wife collaborate on a poetry collection? Tricia Torrington and Michael Henry’s life together has inspired a stunning new collection ‘A Second Look at Rubin’s Figure’, in which they present alternate poems with their take on the same events and the same subjects. Michael Henry is the author of six collections. His latest Bureau of the Lost and Found was praised for “its rich understanding of the invisible connective tissues of individual lives and national cultures” (Tears in the Fence). Tricia Torrington is an award-winning poet and author of the dazzling Opium Fish. Former Birmingham Poet Laureate Roy McFarlane reads “poems of great power” (Hannah Lowe) from Beginning With Your Last Breath. This debut collection explores love, loss, adoption and identity in powerful, precise and emotionally-charged poems.
CHELTENHAM POETRY FESTIVAL PLAYERS - THE POETRY OF TIME 8.30pm, The Playhouse Lounge, £7/5 The Cheltenham Poetry Festival Players (comprising Gill Garrett, Robin Gilbert, Frances March and Peter Wyton) return to read poems on the theme of Time. From Rumi, Shakespeare and Milton, via Blake, Shelley and Housman to Tagore, Yeats and Robert Frost, there will be many wellknown favourites, but also a few surprises. Sponsored by Lodders Solicitors.
TUESDAY MAY 9 COMPOUND WORKSHOP - HOW TO WRITE A COLLABORATIVE POEM WITH GRAM JOEL DAVIES AND HANNAH LINDEN 2.30pm, Tailors, £15
If poetry is about finding truth through an exploration of personal insights, what happens if two poets work together to produce one poem? ‘Compound’ poetry requires an openness to someone else’s vision combined with holding on to your own to create a new synthesis. Gram Joel Davies and Hannah Linden won 1st and 3rd prize in the Cheltenham Compound Poetry Competition 2015. Each poem grew from a different approach. Come along to a workshop to share these different techniques.
COMPOUND POETS - GRAM JOEL DAVIES AND HANNAH LINDEN PLUS OPEN MIC 7pm, Muffin Man, £6/5
Gram Joel Davies is the author of Bolt Down This Earth (Vpress) described as “Linguistically bold. A debut collection of lyric energy and inventiveness, full-throated and confident in its own power to convince” (Martin Malone). Gram’s writing has been praised by Penelope Shuttle, Peter Oswald, Liz Berry and Carol Ann Duffy, among others. In 2014, he and collaboration partner Hannah Linden (“a strikingly original voice, and a superb poet. A wonder to read and to hear” - Mab Jones) won the Cheltenham Poetry Festival Compound Competition.
THIS HERE GUITAR - PHIL BOWEN AND RORY WATERMAN 8.30pm, Muffin Man, £7/5
Take a walk on the wild side with two adventurous and anarchic poets. Phil Bowen is author of Variety’s Hammer, Starfly and Nowhere’s Far – New & Selected Poems. His 20-minute oral poem, All the Stuff, was described as a “work of genius” by John Cooper Clarke. Selima Hill said “reading him is like suddenly being asked to dance”. Phil reads from his ebullient new collection This Here Guitar, thirty-three poems infused with the spirit of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Rory Waterman’s first collection Tonight the Summer’s Over (Carcanet) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Prize 2014 (“A convincing, affecting collection” - Stand.) Rory reads from his hardhitting, and dramatic pamphlet Brexit Day on the Balmoral Estate (“Great poetry, but poetry to be read with a health warning” - Stride). Sponsored by The Oldham Foundation. RORY WATERMAN
WEDNESDAY MAY 10
PLAYHOUSE NEW DRAMA PRESENTS OSCAR WILDE’S WOMEN BY HOWARD TIMMS 7.45pm, The Playhouse Main Stage, £12/10
In this drama with smiles and laughter, two Cheltenham women cheer up Oscar Wilde, who is dying, exiled and lonely, in Paris. Amelia and Christina, campaigners for women’s voting rights, seek Oscar’s support. Amelia believes that poems, songs, and marches will secure women’s suffrage. But Christina insists on something more dramatic: like plays or even civil disobedience. Oscar’s response, at first amusing and bemusing, becomes disruptive until it brings reconciliation about the suffrage movement’s future. Howard’s seventh Playhouse New Drama production is devised as a fundraiser for Cheltenham Poetry Festival and the The Playhouse.
THURSDAY MAY 11
FRIDAY MAY 12 STANZA ROOM ONLY - TINA SEDERHOLM AND RAY ANTROBUS 7pm, The Playhouse Main Stage, £8 The “satirical yet life-affirming” Tina Sederholm is a slam champ, raconteur, performance poet and comic. She’s been described as “a poet and performer of exceptional prowess” and “completely spellbinding” by Edinburgh Fringe Review. Raymond Antrobus is a British-Jamaican performer praised for his “crackling Bukowskiesqe humour” (Sabotage Reviews) and “graceful and finely crafted poetry” (Kwame Dawes). Don’t miss your chance to see two electrifying spoken word stars on one stage. Sponsored by The Oldham Foundation.
IN THE SLAMMER THE 7TH CHELTENHAM POETRY FESTIVAL SLAM!
8pm, The Playhouse Main Stage £6/5
8.30pm, The Playhouse Main Stage, £10/8
Indigo Dreams is an award-winning publisher renowned for its beautifully produced collections of contemporary poetry by both new and established writers. Four poets from the press share new work. Mab Jones (a “unique talent” - The Times), Anna Saunders (“a poet who surely can do anything” - The North), Jennie Farley (“a master storyteller”- Hilda Sheehan) and Bethany Pope (“deeply sensitive and wildly imaginative” - Media Mentions).
Join us as we make sure that rhyme serves its time at the 7th Cheltenham Poetry Festival Slam! For one night only, we offer a criminally good, fast and furious spoken-word standoff. Come and cheer on your favourites as they go head-to-head, or simply sit back and enjoy the oral dexterity and literary prowess of some of the UK’s hottest slam stars as they do battle in an adrenaline-fuelled war of the words. Book early as this is set to ‘cell’ out. Sponsored by The Oldham Foundation.
INDIGO DREAMS POETRY SHOWCASE
SATURDAY MAY 13 POETRY AND POLITICS WORKSHOP DAVID CLARKE 11am, St Andrew’s Church, £15 The past few years have seen a revival of interest in poetry as a response to political developments and a renewed concern for the poet’s potential role in public debates over issues as diverse as austerity, Brexit, the environment and gender equality. This workshop, led by Nine Arches poet David Clarke, will look at some examples of political engagement by contemporary poets and help you to think about the different approaches that writers are taking to this material. It will also help you to think about the multiple meanings that ‘the political’ might have in relation to the writing of poetry, and to find your own voice for talking about the issues that concern you.
poet, author of three collections, a renowned translator and the editor of Modern Poetry in Translation, and she also works with the Royal Court translating new Russian drama. If you’ve ever wanted to know how a poet approaches translating, how the choice of language shapes poems, and what effect translating has on a poet’s own work, this is the event for you. Includes a Q&A.
SASHA DUGDALE AND KATHARINE TOWERS 3.30pm, St Andrew’s Church, £7/5 SASHA DUGDALE
SASHA DUGDALE AND ALISTAIR NOON - THE ART OF TRANSLATION 2pm, St Andrew’s Church, £7/5 Two internationally revered poets talk translation. Alistair Noon lives in Berlin, where he works as a translator. He’s the author of two full length collections with Nine Arches and is currently working on translations of Osip Mandelstam. Sasha Dugdale is a
Sasha Dugdale has published three collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Red House (Carcanet). Her long poem ‘Joy’ won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2016. She has been described by The Guardian as “one of the most original poets of her generation”. Katharine Towers won the Seamus Heaney Poetry Prize for her first collection, The Floating Man. Her second, richly lyrical collection The Remedies, explores the fragility of our relationship with the natural world and proves her to be a major poetic talent. 11.
SATURDAY MAY 13 (CONTINUED)
NINE ARCHES SHOWCASE – SCARE STORIES - DAVID CLARKE AND ALISTAIR NOON 5pm, St Andrew’s Church, £7/5
Two contemporary poets with the prestigious Nine Arches Press imagine the future. David Clarke’s poetry has been described as “daring, deft and full of restrained verve” (Robert Peake). He is the author of Arc and the forthcoming Scare Stories, a sequence of poems set in the near or imagined future (V. Press). Alistair Noon (“a poet of rare depth, power and significance” – Orbis) has been praised for his “masterful skill with the musical properties of words” (The Cafe Review). He has published two full collections with Nine Arches, Earth Records (“a book bristling with ideas and images” - Tony Roberts),
JOHN HEGLEY’S NEW & SELECTED POTATOES 7pm. The Playhouse Main Stage, £12/8 “Comedy’s poet laureate” (The Independent) John Hegley returns to Cheltenham Playhouse to perform seriously funny, cleverly comic poems on everything from love, family, France, art and the sea to dogs, dads, gods, taxidermy, carrots, spectacles and – of course – potatoes. John Hegley has captivated and devastated audiences all over the country and been described in Time Out as “Fabulously funny” and in the Sunday Times as “Scandalously talented”. “One of the funniest men alive” - The New Statesman. Sponsored by Lodders Solicitors.
described as “a tour de force” in The North, and The Kerosene Singing (“a masterful skill with the musical properties of words” - The Cafe Review).
Saturday May 13, 8.30, The Playhouse Main Stage, £12/8 Stuart Maconie is a national treasure – BBC radio DJ, television presenter, “pop professor” (one of the UK’s leading authorities on music and popular culture), writer for many publications ranging from Mojo to The Guardian and best-selling author of highly acclaimed books such as Cider With Roadies and Never Mind the Quantocks. He has been described as being “as funny as Bill Bryson and as wise as George Orwell” by The Observer. Stuart also appeared on Mastermind answering questions on 20th Century poetry. Don’t miss your chance to join this much-loved star of radio and TV, when he returns to perform a new stand-up show inspired by poetry! Sponsored by The Oldham Foundation.
SUNDAY MAY 14 CHAPTER AND VERSE PRESENTS THE FUTURE, CHRIS HEMINGWAY, ALIYAH HASINAH, VICKY HAMPTON. WITH OPEN MIC. 11am, Waterstones, free Get set for an exciting fusion event of spoken word, poetry and prose. Chris Hemingway is the author of the darkly witty novel The Future, it’s been described as “The Man Who Fell to Earth meets The Office”. Aliyah Hasinah is a poet, filmmaker and historian, 1/3 of Brum based podcast Who Got the Juice? and cofounder of ART!VIST UK. Vicky Hampton is a Welsh poet, who is gaining wide recognition for her lyrical, and erudite work. 13.
SUNDAY MAY 14 (CONTINUED)
A WORKSHOP WITH JOHN HEGLEY – WRITING, DRAWING AND DRAWING OUT THE CREATIVE Cheltenham Lawn Hotel, 11am, £15 Enjoy a creative workshop with The People’s Poet Laureate John Hegley. Bring a poem (by someone other than you), and a painting or photo to act as a trigger for new work. There will be mandolin playing as you are mulling and making! Please note there is no parking near this venue and the room is reached by steps. MARY SHELLEY
MARY SHELLEY – A TALK BY FIONA SAMPSON 2pm, St Andrew’s Church, £8/6
Mary Shelley, the daughter of feminist and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft and wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley, is chiefly known for her novel Frankenstein. Yet she was also a remarkable travel writer, literary historian, poet and short-story writer. Editor and critic Fiona Sampson’s publications include twenty-seven volumes of poetry, criticism and philosophy of language. She is also the author of On the White Plain: the search for Mary Shelley. Please join us for a fascinating glimpse into the life of this iconic writer. 14.
FIONA SAMPSON, GABRIEL MILLAR & STEPHANIE PAPA 3.30pm , St Andrews Church, £7/5
Fiona Sampson is published in thirty-seven languages, and has twice been shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and Forward Prize. Her poetry has been described as “sensual, sharply intelligent, searching” (John Burnside) and she has been called “a very fine poet indeed” by The Guardian. Gabriel Millar believes “that poems, like lovetalk, should go from mouth to ear without any paper in between” and she is renown for charismatic performances of Rumi-esque poetry, described as ‘extraordinary’ in New Books. Stephanie Papa is a writer and translator whose finely crafted and luminous poetry makes her a name to watch out for. STEPHANIE PAPA
SUNDAY MAY 14 (CONTINUED) EXCLAMATION MARK! A SPOKEN WORD SHOWCASE STARRING NEIL LAURENSON, THE GRUMBLING GARGOYLE, CHLOE JACQUET 5pm, St Andrew’s Church, £6/5 Neil Laurenson’s Exclamation Mark is a little red book with a-Mao-zing puns. In it, Neil Laurenson tackles Russian dolls; tiny cardigans and parking restrictions; the British education system and Margaret Thatcher’s position on love truncheons. (“A witty, satirical collection that packs punches and belly laughs with equal clout.” - Paper & Ink Zine). Lynn Gerrard aka ‘The Grumbling Gargoyle’ is infamous for her acerbic wit and acute poetic insight into the human condition. Chloe Jacquet is a rising star on the performance scene and a slam champ - having won several spoken word battles, including the prestigious Womad title in 2016. GERALDINE MONK
COMIC POETRY WITH JOHN GORMAN 7pm, Smokey Joe’s, £6/5
After his sell–out and madcap event at last year’s festival, John Gorman (The Scaffold, Tiswas) presents another smorgasbord of Comic Verse - spanning and scanning all ages, sects and creeds including Spike Milligan, Ogden Nash, Edward Lear and Mr Gorman’s own hilarious verse! Get ready to ‘lol’ like there is no tomorrow, and chortle your way to kingdom come. Sponsored by Annie Ellis.
CHELTENHAM IMPROVISERS PRESENT: BRAVE NEW WORLDS – MUSIC AND POETRY 8.30pm, Smokey Joe’s, free The legendary Cheltenham Improvisers Orchestra are back, and this time they are offering a taste of utopia, and maybe even a dystopia or two! The orchestra offer an exciting, experimental soundscape inspired by contemporary poetry. With guest poets Adam Horovitz, Angela France and Nigel McLoughlin. Why not bring a poem of your own to share and let our talented musicians take you into another world?
MONDAY MAY 14 GERALDINE MONK AND CHRISTINE WHITTEMORE The Playhouse Main Stage, 7pm, £7/5 Geraldine Monk has been a vital member of the British poetry scene since the mid1970s. A fiercely inventive avant-garde poet, her work has been described as “undeniably fascinating” by Tony Franzer and Horizon Review suggested that she is “more attuned to the physical heft of words than any other poet working in English today”. Geraldine will be reading a selection from her extensive body of work, including poems commissioned by BBC 3’s The Verb, ‘The Three Stepping Stones of Dawn’ plus poems from They Who Saw The Deep - new work which explores historical events, migrations and mythologies. Christine Whittemore’s prize winning novel Inscription (“The author’s poetic sensibilities shine throughout this beautiful narrative”Orla McAlinden) won the 2013 Eludia award from Hidden River Arts and was praised for its “lean, superb prose” by Kevin CrossleyHolland. Christine reads from her new Oversteps Books poetry collection. 15.
MONDAY MAY 14 (CONTINUED) POETRY IN MOTION FILM SHOWCASE WITH REDCLIFFE FILMS The Playhouse Main Stage, 8.30pm, £7/5 Diana Taylor of Redcliffe Films presents this ground-breaking showcase of new poetry films which includes the first screening of Burne Jones and the Fox – poetry cinema inspired by Festival Director Anna Saunders’ Indigo Dreams collection. The event also includes a live performance by poets Melanie Branton, Tim Vosper, Kay Baxter and David C. Johnson and the announcement of the winner of our Poetry In Motion Competition.
CHELTENHAM POETRY FESTIVAL COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMME
THURSDAY MAY 11 JOHN KEATS – A TALK BY SYLVIA CHARLEWOOD Tailors, 2pm, £5/4
The author of such iconic poems as The Eve of St. Agnes, To Autumn, Endymion - John Keats’ poetry was marked by vivid imagery, rich sensuous detail and an attempt to express a philosophy through classical legend. Sylvia Charlewood, an expert on the Romantic poets, follows her talk last year on Shelley with another on his contemporary John Keats, one of the most popular and admired of poets in English. Independence Trust , P3 Cheltenham and County Community Projects and to schools, including All Saints Academy.
Offering arts to the whole community Funding from Cheltenham Borough Council and Arts Council England enables Cheltenham Poetry Festival to take creative opportunities to the whole community. We believe art is for everyone, and, since 2011, we have introduced some of the most exciting poets and spoken word artists to the young people of Cheltenham and to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups for inspiring and empowering workshops. We have taken writers and performers, including John Hegley, Angela France, JB Barrington, The Beatfreaks, Spoz and Al Hutchins, out to organisations such as The
We believe creativity can transform lives by increasing self-esteem and enhancing health and well-being. And, thanks to Cheltenham Borough Council and Arts Council England and to the support of our Friends and Patrons, we will continue to make art available to the most disadvantaged members of society throughout the year.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 26 CHELTENHAM POETRY FESTIVAL YOUTH SLAM! 7pm-9pm, Cheltenham Town Hall, Â£5
Watch teams of budding poets from schools across the county go head to head in a high-energy battle of rhyme and reason! Hosted by Spoz. SPOZ
Cheltenhamâ€™s independent bookshop opened in 2015 and has a wide and eclectic range of books for children and adults. We love hosting author events, poetry and writing workshops, book groups and seminars. Come and find us in the beautiful historic Suffolks area!
The Suffolk Anthology 17 Suffolk Parade Cheltenham GL50 2AE 01242 361362 @CheltAnthology www.theanthology.co.uk email@example.com
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Oxfam Bookshop 31 Cambray Place GL50 1JP 01242 511650
Tailors 4 Cambray Place GL50 1JP 01242 511650
Smokey Joe’s 15-17 Bennington Street GL50 4ED 01242 513744
The Muffin Man Basement 3 Crescent Terrace Royal Well 01242 228989
Suffolk Anthology Bookshop 17 Suffolk Parade GL50 2AE 01242 361362
6 St Andrew’s United 6. Reformed Church Montpellier Street GL50 1SP 01242 519534 7 Cheltenham Playhouse 7. 47-53 Bath Road GL53 7HG 01242 522852 8 Waterstones 8. 33-41 Promenade GL50 1LE 01242 571779
9. 9 Cheltenham Lawn 5 Pittville Lawn GL52 2BE 01242 526638