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BOOKING INFORMATION You can buy your tickets in advance by phone, on-line or by calling into Suffolk Anthology Bookshop (or The Wilson or the Playhouse for events held there). IT PAYS TO BUY IN ADVANCE Please note that, although tickets may still be bought on the door, tickets bought in advance are £1 cheaper. Workshops must be booked in advance. For ALL BOOKINGS visit the Cheltenham Poetry Festival website www. and click the Booking Info tab OR search for Cheltenham Poetry Festival Booking. You can then select the event/s you are interested in from a list – and the link will take you to TicketSource or The Wilson or The Playhouse where you can buy by phone or on-line. The Wilson: 01242 237431 or visit www. or visit The Wilson in person. The Playhouse: 01242 522852 or visit www. or visit the theatre in person. Note: the Playhouse now offers on-line bookings (but there is a booking fee). You can also buy tickets, in person, from Suffolk Anthology Bookshop, 17 Suffolk Parade, Cheltenham,GL50 2AE, 01242 361 362. Please note – cash and cheque payments only.

NB Concessionary prices apply to minors (under-18), full-time students under the age of 25 and to those officially registered as disabled or unemployed. 2.

Welcome to the 2016 Festival When American poet Mark Doty described love as “a gateway to the world”, he could easily have been talking about poetry. Visit the Cheltenham Poetry Festival this Spring, and we will take you on an exotic and exciting journey. You won’t even need your passport. Here are some of our highlights: Christopher Somerville Walking Correspondent of The Times and poet leads you into the wild. We launch our poetry cinema programme with a ravishing black & white visit to a bygone age in a showing of 1962 by Diana Taylor. Dr Paul Innes transports us to the days of the Roman Empire in a talk about Shakespeare’s Roman plays. Kim Fleet delves into the seamier side of 18th Century Cheltenham, and Cheltenham Poet in Residence Angela France celebrates the town’s anarchic and revolutionary spirit. Also on the menu: best-selling author David Elder offers a preview of his new Tennyson-inspired play; we take a trip to 20th century Ireland when acclaimed poet Nigel McLoughlin talks about WB Yeats and Gerry and Esther Smyth perform haunting settings of James Joyce’s sequence of poems Chamber Music. We also welcome novelist Samantha Harvey “this generation’s Virginia Woolf” (Daily Telegraph), who pairs up with Faber New Poet Jack Underwood to explore the nature of memory. The Independent’s columnist Rosie Millard leads us through the London suburbs in her saucy romp The Square. And internationally acclaimed poet George Szirtes reads work inspired by folk stories, European history and his life in Hungary. We are also delighted to welcome “National Treasure”, radio DJ, television presenter, “pop professor” and best-selling author Stuart Maconie to the Festival to talk about his love of poetry and read work by iconic British poets such as W.H.Auden and Philip Larkin.

As ever, we have a great line-up of contemporary poets, including Todd Swift, Carrie Etter, Rhian Edwards, Helen Moore, David Clarke, Angela France, Pete Mullineaux, Graham Burchell, Linda Rose Black and Sarah James, plus comedy from Angie Belcher, story-telling from The Bard of Windmill Hill, Wyton’s Wisdom from Peter Wyton and our legendary performancepoetry Slam. As “the writers’ festival”, we also offer a wealth of workshops to inspire your poems and help you hone your craft. Highlights this year include workshops and talks on Beating Writer’s Block, Self-Publishing and how writing prose fuels your poetry. Our tutors include David Clarke, Kim Fleet, Graham Burchell and Matt Black. So why not let poetry transport you this spring? You never know where it will take you! Anna Saunders, Cheltenham Poetry Festival Founder and Director.

Here’s what you can expect from our events: Chapter and Verse - We pair up poets and prose writers to explore shared themes. Spoken Word - The finest performance poetry. Expect adrenaline-fuelled, thoughtprovoking, fresh new writing. Stand Up For Poetry! Poetry with the “lol” factor. Expect cerebrally stimulating laughs. This year we also offer Poetry Cinema, talks on classical poetry, slams, workshops and much more. This year’s theme is ‘beauty’ and our poets and performers will be offering their - very different - take on what beauty means to them. 3.

FRIDAY, 6 MAY Chapter and Verse - Literary Lunch Sarah Hesketh and Christine Whittemore 1pm–2.30pm, Andersons, £10 Erudite, witty, and stylishly contemporary, Sarah Hesketh’s debut collection invokes a world of frozen lakes, snow-spun streets, the “small relics of lives” in original and utterly convincing poems. Christine Whittemore’s first novel Inscription is a love letter to the book, a fascinating depiction of evolution from tablet to folio. It’s also a gripping story of exile and return, redemption and loss.

The Way I Remember It - A Poetry Workshop with Matt Black 3pm–4.30pm, Tailors, £15/12 Limited to 12 places - advance booking only An inspiring poetry workshop using memories to trigger new poems with Matt Black, Derbyshire Poet Laureate 2011-2013. This will be a fun and supportive workshop, suitable for beginners and more experienced writers.

Rosie Millard

Chapter and Verse - Matt Black and Rosie Millard 6.30pm–7.30pm, The Playhouse, £9/7 Quirky, hilarious and highly entertaining Matt Black is rapidly becoming one of the UK’s most popular performance poets, combining the wit and wry delivery of John Cooper Clarke with the warm humour of John Hegley. Journalist, broadcaster and BBC Arts Correspondent Rosie Millard is a columnist for The Independent and author of The Square – a saucy romp featuring the middle class residents of a London garden square, compared to Jane Austen and Trollope, and described as “pin sharp and wickedly funny” by Adam Foulds. Please book at The Playhouse Theatre.

Poetry Cinema and Meet the Director with Diana Taylor 8pm–10pm, The Playhouse, £7/5



Diana Taylor worked as a Film Editor and Assistant Producer for the BBC in London at Ealing Film Studios before making poetry films which have been selected for film festivals all over the world. Poetry Cinema showcases some of her finest poetry cinema, including the prize-winning film 1962 – a ravishing black and white portrait of a bygone age. The event includes a Q & A with Diana. Please book at The Playhouse Theatre.

SATURDAY, 7 MAY Across the Lost Border poetry and song with Kevan Manwaring and Chantelle Smith 12noon–1.30pm, Andersons, £7/5 On door £8/6 Join us for a literary trip across the lost border in poetry and song. Kevan Manwaring reads from Lost Borders, described as “colourful and rich, unusual and alive” by Jay Ramsay. This poetic journey takes us through thresholds in England, Scotland, Ireland and North America. Wiltshire-based folksinger Chantelle Smith provides a musical accompaniment with enchanting folk ballads of borders and crossings.

James Joyce

Love Lost - Alfred, Lord Tennyson in Cheltenham - with David Elder 2pm–3pm, St Andrews Church, £7/5 On door £8/6 Cheltenham has been home to many great literary figures, including Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who came to live in the town in 1844 after it was recommended that he took the waters to restore his health. Bestselling author David Elder’s books include 50 Gems of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham Heritage Walks and Down Cheltenham Way. In this fascinating event, David talks about his new play Love Lost – a play inspired by Tennyson’s time in Cheltenham and his struggle with depression and hypochondria. The event includes a reading from the play, and a Q & A with the author. Sponsored by The Oldham Foundation.

Chantelle Smith & Kevan Manwaring

James Joyce in Music - Gerry Smyth 3.30pm–4.30pm, St Andrews Church, £7/5 On door £8/6 Music played a crucial role in James Joyce’s literary imagination. This event offers a unique chance to hear an original setting of Joyce’s poems – Chamber Music – written by actor, scholar and musician Dr Gerry Smyth and performed by Gerry and singer Esther Smyth. These haunting “folkish” settings of the lyrics have been performed internationally. Ravishingly beautiful and emotionally affecting, Chamber Music celebrates the lyrical beauty and spirit of the iconic Irish writer’s work. Shakespeare’s Roman Plays – a talk by Dr Paul Innes 5pm–6pm, St Andrew’s Church, £6/4 On door £7/5 Rome was a recurring theme throughout Shakespeare’s career, from the celebrated Julius Caesar to the less well known Cymbeline. In this fascinating talk, Dr Paul Innes, author of Shakespeare’s Roman Plays, assesses themes of politics and national identity in these plays through the common theme of Rome. 5.

SATURDAY, 7 MAY From Page to Stage - Todd Swift and Rhys Milson 7pm–8pm, The Playhouse, £8/£5 Experience the drama of live poetry this summer with Todd Swift, one of our most celebrated living writers and author of eight collections described as “elegant, moving and masterful”. His charismatic performances of electrifyingly original work offer all the excitement of live theatre. Rhys Milson is the author of Amnesia. He has been praised for his direct, uncompromising and exciting new poetic voice and compared with Bobby Parker and Charles Bukowski. Please book at The Playhouse Theatre.

Todd Swift

Stuart Maconie

Saturday, 7 May, 8.30pm–9.30pm, The Playhouse, £12/£8

Stuart Maconie


Stuart Maconie is a national treasure – 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 reads some of his favourite poems and talks about why they have been such an influence on him. Please book at The Playhouse Theatre. Sponsored by The Oldham Foundation. Media Sponsor the Gloucestershire Echo.



Unheard Melodies - a workshop with Graham Burchell 11.30am–1pm, Tailors, £15/12 Limited to 12 places - advance booking only Keats wrote, “heard melodies are sweet, those unheard are sweeter.” In this workshop, you will explore ways of giving voice, through your poetry, to those “unheard melodies” – those private experiences of beauty that are the perfect source of poetry. With prizewinning poet Graham Burchell. Chapter and Verse - Scumbled - Lesley Ingram and Martin Lytton 2pm–3pm, The Strand, £6/4 On door £7/5


Scumbling is defined as both blurring the outlines in literature and as a process of layering glazes in art. To what extent do writers conceal and veil the truth? Awardwinning poet Lesley Ingram reads from her haunting first collection Scumbled – described as “compelling, strange – vivid and vital” by Alison Brackenbury. Acclaimed playwright and poet Martin Lytton (author of Prospects, The Secret Life of Shakespeare, Julia) reads new work which explores the interface between poetry and prose. Rhian Edwards

Rhian Edwards & Linda Rose Black 3.30pm–4.30pm, The Strand, £7/5 On door £8/6 Rhian Edwards (an “astounding Welsh poet with performances that get you in the emotional gut” BBC Radio 3) has been praised for her charismatic and powerful performances of her poetry (“Poetry has never sounded so alive”– Cerys Matthews). Linda Rose Black writes haunting and richly imagined poetry which recreates the ordinary in a magical, darkly humourous and Goyaesque light. 7.


Mantie Lister

Graham Burchell & Mantie Lister 5pm-6pm, The Strand £6/4 On door £7/5 Graham Burchell has won numerous poetry competitions and is the author of four highly praised collections of poetry and his work has been described as “explosive and blistering” by Katrina Naomi. Mantie Lister, Bard of Exeter 2015, is renowned both as a fresh and original performance poet and as a writer who reworks traditional folk tales into urban settings. Shakespeare

Cheltenham Poetry Festival Players – The Bard of Avon; a celebration of Shakespeare 7pm–8pm, The Strand, £7/5 On door £8/6

Wyton Wisdom with Peter Wyton 8.30pm–9.30pm, The Strand, £6/4 On door £7/5 Peter Wyton (aka BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Breakfast Bard) has won 25 first prizes in poetry competitions, published eight collections and been included in countless anthologies (including The Oxford Book of War Poetry). His poetry has been on Radio 4’s Poetry Please and Something Understood, and he has been nominated twice for the annual Forward Prize. He’s a seasoned slamchamp and erstwhile Poet Laureate of Gloucestershire, and famed for his wise and witty performance of thought-provoking, powerfully written poetry.

To mark the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, join our intrepid troupe of poet-players, the Cheltenham Poetry Festival Players (Kathryn Alderman, Robin Gilbert, Frances March and Peter Wyton – whose credits include television and radio work) for a performance of breathtakingly beautiful sonnets and speeches by the Bard. Presented by Festival Headline Sponsor, Cheltenham and Stratford based’ Lodders Solicitors. NB Concessionary prices apply to minors (under-18), full-time students under the age of 25 and to those officially registered as disabled or unemployed. 8.

Peter Wyton

MONDAY, 9 MAY Beat Writer’s Block with Kim Fleet 11.30am–1pm, Tailors, £15/12 Limited to 12 places - advance booking only Do you want to write, but find yourself held back by procrastination, perfectionism or fear? In this fun workshop, we’ll look at the major causes of writer’s block and how to combat them. Bring a pen and paper, because we’ll be doing lots of writing and saying farewell to writer’s block. The Weather House – Simon Williams and Susan Taylor 5pm–6pm, The Strand, £6/4 On door £7/5

Chapter and Verse - The Beauty of Travel - Christopher Somerville, David Ashbee & Marianne Hellwig John 6.30pm–7.30pm, The Strand, £7/5 On door £8/6 Christopher Somerville, acclaimed travel writer and poet, returns to the festival to take you on more journeys. Christopher is Walking Correspondent of The Times and author of 40 books on people, landscape, and history, plus two collections of poetry – Extraordinary Flight and Greenwood Dark – both full of fascinating folk stories, legends and rural lore. Christopher Somerville is joined by David Ashbee and Marianne Hellwig John from the Cherington Poets.

Ever wondered what the man and woman in a Swiss weather house would have to say if they weren’t made of wood? Poets Simon Williams and Susan Taylor (Oversteps Press) celebrate the rain and shine of British weather and romantic love in this enchanting performance, which comes replete with lederhosen, pinafore dresses, and plenty of laughs!

Chapter and Verse - Cheltenham; an Alternative History - Kim Fleet and Angela France 8pm–9pm, The Strand, £6/4 On door £7/5 Do you see Cheltenham as a respectable and genteel town? Two exciting contemporary writers may make you think again. The seamier side of 18th Century Cheltenham is imagined in Kim Fleet’s novel Paternoster and the town’s anarchic and revolutionary spirit is celebrated in new poems by Cheltenham Poet in Residence Angela France. Join two celebrated writers for this exciting, literary exploration of our Regency town. The event also includes a Q & A. 9.

TUESDAY, 10 MAY Shelley

Reflections – David Clarke and Sarah James 6.30pm–7.30pm, Smokey Joe’s, £7/5 On door £8/5 In A Defence of Poetry, Shelley writes “Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.” Join us for a reading by two poets revered for the beauty of their language, and the exciting and uncompromising subject matter they explore. Sarah James’s innovative and adventurous poems are inspired by the intimate joys and sadness of family life and the body’s frailties. David Clarke’s debut collection Arc blends politics, current events and has been described as “explosive in imagery and theme” by Rachel Boast. Tania Hershman

Lifting the Veil from the Hidden Beauty of the World - a talk on Shelley by Sylvia Charlewood 11.30am–12.30pm, Tailors, £5/4 On door £6/5 Percy Bysshe Shelley was a radical poet, polemicist and political activist. He was also responsible for penning some of the most beautiful poetry in the English Language. Poet and Shelley expert Sylvia Charlewood offers this tribute and reads poems by the revolutionary Romantic poet. From Prose to Poetry - Poems as Building Blocks for Stories, a workshop with Sue Johnson 2pm–3.30pm, Tailors, £15/12 Limited to 12 places - advance booking only Sue Johnson reads the poems that inspired her novels Fable’s Fortune, The Yellow Silk Dress, and Apple Orchard, Lemon Grove. Her workshop explains how she uses poems to create characters and settings and as a framework for stories and novels. 10.

Flash! - A micro-fiction showcase with Tania Hershman and students from The University of Gloucestershire. 8pm–10pm, Smokey Joes, £6/4 On door £7/5 Tania Hershman’s scintillating collection of 56 short fictions My Mother Was an Upright Piano is strong, spiky and off-beat. Her flash fiction stories have been described as “punching ten times heavier than their weight” by David Gaffney. Tania is joined by staff and students from the creative writing course at The University of Gloucestershire. This event showcases some exciting new writers on the course, as well as members of staff, who will read new fiction written especially for the event. Sponsored by The University of Gloucestershire.

WEDNESDAY, 11 MAY The Winchcombe Poets – A Thing of Beauty 10am–11am, Andersons, £5/3 On door £6/4 Romantic poet John Keats believed that “a thing of beauty is a joy forever”. The creative and talented members of Winchcombe Poets, lead by Helena Cavan and Chris Haslam, explore this idea in a showcase which promises to provoke thought, laughter, and reflection as we explore what we treasure in life. Sponsored by The Oldham Foundation. The Bard Of Windmill Hill - Trevor Carter

The Storyteller of the Year Entertains - Trevor Carter 6.30pm–7.30pm, Smokey Joes, £6/4 On door £7/5 Let Trevor Carter, Storyteller of the Year, turn the absurd, bewildering and frequently frustrating aspects of modern life into laughter fodder for you! Witty, ironic, and waspish with social comment, this is cerebral stand-up at its best! Praised by the BBC’s Dr Phil Hammond for the range and depth of his work, Trevor Carter could provide the poetry prescription you need. Sponsored by The Oldham Foundation.

Bill Jones

The Goddess in Poetry 3.30pm–4.30pm, Café Rouge, £6/4 On door £7/5 A contemporary take on mythology and beauty by poets Kathryn Alderman, Louise Crossley, Jennie Farley and Frances March. Expect ravishingly beautiful and finely crafted poems celebrating the lives of the goddesses by these four highly regarded and much published poets.

Miserable Malcolm’s Graveside Manner – Bill Jones 8pm–9pm, Smokey Joes, £6/4 On door £7/5 Let’s get ready to grumble with Miserable Malcolm. Bill Jones’s hilarious stand-up show Graveside Manner about being an incredibly miserable poet sold out both performances at last year’s Theatre Festival in Stroud, and he has recently supported John Hegley at a sell-out gig there. Bill will seek to entertain us with poems about death, despair, and loss; excerpts from appallingly disheartening novels; and updates on the aftermath of his disastrous love affair with Mavis Wright. 11.


Bob Dylan

The Stroud Pamphlet Poets - Cutting the Heart Asunder 3.30pm–4.30pm, Oxfam, £5/4 On door £6/5 Beauty can fill us with joy – it can also fill us with awe and emotion. As Virginia Woolf wrote “The beauty of the world has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.” The Stroud Pamphlet Poets, led by Rick Vick, is one of the most prestigious writing groups in the Southwest and its members include slam champs and published poets. Here they present a wide selection of finely crafted poems inspired by individual experiences of beauty.

Praise Be to Nero’s Neptune - John Hughes on Bob Dylan 11am–12noon, Oxfam Bookshop, £7/5 On door £8/6 Sixties troubadour Bob Dylan was inspired by Rimbaud and Verlaine and, alongside writing unforgettable lyrics, also delved into poetry. Scholar John Hughes from The University of Gloucestershire is the author of Invisible Now – described as “the finest book on Bob Dylan I have ever read” by Mark Ford. In this fascinating talk, John explores Bob Dylan’s transformative inspiration as artist and cultural figure in the 1960s and his love of poetry. Helen Moore and Stroud Pamphlet Poets - Eco-Poetry 2pm–3pm, Oxfam, £6/4 On door £7/5 Eco-poet Helen Moore’s debut collection, Hedge Fund: And Other Living Margins was described by Alasdair Paterson as being “in the great tradition of visionary politics in British poetry” and her second collection was described as “a Blake-vision for the planet” and as “a milestone in the journey of ecopoetics” by John Kinsella. Helen is joined by members of Stroud Pamphlet Poets, including Rick Vick and Eley Furrell, in this green-themed showcase. 12.

Helen Moore

Pete Mullineaux, Alice Merry, Lania Knight 6.30pm–7.30pm, The Frog and Fiddle, £6/4 On door £7/5 Punk pioneer and poet Pete Mullineaux exploded onto the stage with underground band The Registers before going solo as Pete Zero and gigging everywhere from Trafalgar Square to Glastonbury, appearing alongside such luminaries as The Pogues. Pete has published three collections of poetry and his work has been described by various reviewers as “tender and lyrical”, “gorgeously resonant” and “grimly funny” and has drawn comparisons with Brian Patten & John Cooper-Clarke. Alice Merry is an exciting new voice on the UK poetry scene. Lania Knight is a novelist and lecturer at The University of Gloucestershire. NB Concessionary prices apply to minors (under-18), full-time students under the age of 25 and to those officially registered as disabled or unemployed.

Indigo Dreams Showcase 8pm–9pm, The Frog and Fiddle, £7/5 On door £8/66

Stand-up for Poetry! Mythical Creatures with Angie Belcher 7pm–8pm, Smokey Joes, £7/5 On door £8/6

Indigo Dreams is an award-winning poetry press renowned for its beautifully produced collections of contemporary poetry by both new and established writers. Prize-winning poet Deborah Harvey’s writing is rooted in the landscape and folklore of her native West Country. Anna Saunders, Cheltenham Poetry Festival Founder and author of four collections, has been described “a poet who can do anything” by Wendy Klein in The North. Ben Banyard is an exciting new voice, and writes witty and finely crafted poems. Chrys Salt has published four full collections and four pamphlet collections. Her most recent collections Grass and Dancing on a Rock were published by Indigo Dreams.

What happens when your perfect world fails to materialize? Award-winning comedian and poet Angie Belcher’s new show (“Highly recommended, go see her” – Phil Jupitus) was inspired by looking back at her aspirational childhood diary and realizing that her life has not turned out quite as she once hoped. Join her on a hilarious journey during which she reflects on the nature of ambition and failure.

Angie Belcher


SLAM BURGER! The 6th Cheltenham Poetry Festival Slam 8.30pm–10.30pm, Smokey Joes. £7/5 On door £8/6 For one night only we serve up the UK’s tastiest slammers in a sizzling spoken word stand-off! Come and cheer on your favourites as they contend for the much coveted Cheltenham Poetry Festival Cup or simply sit back and enjoy the oral dexterity and literary prowess of some of the UK’s hottest slam stars as they go head to head in an adrenaline-fuelled war of the words. You won’t get cheese with this, but you may get extra relish! Sponsored by The Gloucestershire Echo.

Compound Prize Winners Two Poets, One Poem 5pm–6pm, Tailors, £5/4 On door £6/5 The Cheltenham Poetry Festival’s collaborative writing competition Compound was launched last year. Poets were asked to pair up and pen a poem together! The winners were two exciting contemporary poets Gram Joel Davies, (who has been described as “crazy good” by Martin Malone) and Hannah Linden, who took first and third place with their richly lyrical and inventive poems. Come and hear the prize-winners share their winning work. 13.

SATURDAY, 14 MAY Self-Publishing - The Writer’s Route to Freedom with Miles Bailey 2pm–3pm, Oxfam. £9/7 On door £10/8 With poetry publishers receiving more applications than ever before, many writers are finding it hard to get their work into print. Self-publishing can offer creative autonomy and freedom – as long as you do it in the right way! Miles Bailey leads you through the benefits and possible pitfalls of publishing your own work. There is also the opportunity for a Q & A afterwards. A Terrible Beauty is Born - Nigel McLoughlin on Easter 1916 by WB Yeats 3.30pm–4.30pm, Oxfam, £6/4 On door £7/5

Poetry Amongst the Paintings with Carrie Etter, Gill Garrett & Penny Howarth 8pm–9pm, The Wilson, £8/£6 American expatriate Carrie Etter’s third collection, Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014), was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry by The Poetry Society. Her work has been described as ranging from “heart-breaking to funny to frightening” and fusing “the fantastic and the mundane, fairy tale and contemporary detail”. Carrie is joined by two members of the Picaresque poetry troupe, Gill Garrett and Penny Howarth, who will be reading from Picaresque’s recently published collection Poetry Amongst the Paintings, which includes poetry inspired by art in the Wilson’s collection. Yeats

Acclaimed poet Nigel McLoughlin (“an author of bravery and complexity and deep humanity” - Envoi magazine) talks about Easter 1916. This is one of the most powerful political poems of the 20th century, responding to one of the most momentous events in Irish history. Nigel talks of its connections to the poems September 1913, and The Second Coming. Sponsored by The Oldham Foundation. George Szirtes & Nigel McLoughlin 6.30pm–7.30pm, The Wilson, £8/6 Two acclaimed poets explore ideas of beauty and the visual arts. George Szirtes is an artist, the author of over 20 collections of poetry and is considered to be one of our greatest living poets. His work fuses folk story, European history and personal testimony. Nigel McLoughlin is a prize-winning poet who has been described as “one of Ireland’s most exciting younger poets”. He has won several prizes for his masterful and richly lyrical work and has published five criticallyacclaimed collections of poetry. 14.

George Szirtes

SUNDAY, 15 MAY Beginning and Ending the Poem - a workshop with David Clarke 11am–12.30pm, Suffolk Anthology, £15/12 Limited to 12 places - advance booking only Learn how to craft killer first, and last, lines to capture the attention of readers or editors and to keep them hooked right to the end. Nine Arches poet David Clarke will discuss examples of brilliant beginnings and endings, and share some exercises to help you approach them differently in your own work. Participants will be asked to submit a short poem of up to 20 lines before the workshop. Sponsored by Suffolk Anthology. David Clarke

Chapter and Verse - Samantha Harvey and Jack Underwood 2pm–3pm, Suffolk Anthology, £6/4 On door £7/5 Two writers explore literature’s ability to immortalise. Novelist Samantha Harvey “This generation’s Virginia Woolf” (Daily Telegraph) and “a master of language” (The Evening Standard) reads from her prizewinning fourth novel Dear Thief. Described in The New Yorker as “Exhilarating and remarkable”, Dear Thief is a letter to an old friend that lures the reader in and doesn’t let go. Author of Faber collection Happiness, Jack Underwood’s “ambitious, energetic poetry” (The Guardian) is preoccupied with the ephemerality of happiness itself and the ways we try to grasp and keep hold of it. Join us as two writers explore the nature of permanence in poetry and prose. Sponsored by Suffolk Anthology. Samantha Harvey

John Gorman

The Verse is Yet to Come – Tea and Comic Verse with John Gorman 3.30pm–4.30pm, The Muffin Man, £10/£8 Poetry has many faces: from the surreal to the saga, from the sublime without rhyme, to poems without reason. John Gorman (The Scaffold, Tiswas) presents a 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! Shed your glumness, dump your grimaces and replenish your laughter coffers with The Verse is Yet to Come! The ticket price includes tea or coffee and a slice of the Muffin Man’s excellent cake. 15.

SUNDAY, 15 MAY Love and Loss - R.V. Bailey and June Hall 5pm–6pm, The Muffin Man, £7/5 On door £8/6 The acclaimed anthology The Book of Love and Loss has been described as “a testament to humanity” by Envoi Magazine and “a pace-maker for the broken heart” by actress Maureen Lipman. The book comprises nearly 400 poems of celebration and mourning, hope and despair by new and well-known names. The book’s editors, R.V.Bailey (author of five poetry collections, praised for her “sensitivity and wit”) and June Hall, (“a writer of clarity, sincerity and strength”), will be reading from the book and talking about how poetry can heal and console.

Cheltenham Improvisers Orchestra

The Masked Poet - a Rhyme off! 6.30–7.30, Smokey Joe’s, £6/4 On door £7/5 Do you remember the adrenaline-fuelled rap-battle in 8 Mile with Eminem? Now it’s your chance to go head to head with a spoken word ‘superstar’ – when The Masked Poet comes to Cheltenham! Can you outrhyme the infamous versifier – fresh from his world tour of the potteries, the poetry clubs of Wigan and the Cruise Ships of the Suez Canal? Bring your wit and very little wisdom, and see if you can see off his stanzas and vex his verse in this war of the words! 16.

There and Back Again - A Final Night Party with the Cheltenham Improvisers Orchestra. 8pm–9pm, Smokey Joe’s, Free! Let us transport you There and Back Again in this time-travelling trip of music and poetry with legendary Cheltenham Improvisers Orchestra and a posse of time-travelling poets! Watch as poets revisit significant moments from their past and perhaps shed a little light on why their personal lives have been turned to art. Why not bring a poem of your own to share? Expect exciting, risqué, poignant moments and a soundtrack to match. Plus prizes for the best time-travel costume! The Masked Poet

Cheltenham’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!

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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 Independence Trust , P3 Cheltenham and County Community Projects and to schools, including All Saints Academy. We believe creativity can transform lives by increasing self-esteem and enhancing health and well-being.

Funding from Cheltenham Borough Council and Arts Council England enables Cheltenham Poetry Festival to take creative opportunities to the whole community.

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.


The Strand 40-42 High Street GL50 1EE 01242 511848

2. Oxfam Bookshop 31 Cambray Place GL50 1JP 01242 511650 3. Tailors 4 Cambray Place GL50 1JP 01242 511650 4. Smokey Joe’s 15-17 Bennington Street GL50 4ED 01242 513744 5. The Muffin Man Basement 3 Crescent Terrace Royal Well 01242 228989 6. Café Rouge 31-41 Promenade GL50 1NW 01242 529989

10. St Andrew’s United Reformed Church Montpellier Street GL50 1SP 01242 519534

7. Andersons 16 Regent Street GL50 1HE 01242 702259

11. Frog & Fiddle 313-315 High Street GL50 3HW 01242 701156

8. The Wilson Art Gallery & Museum Clarence Street GL50 3JT 01242 522878

12. Cheltenham Playhouse 47-53 Bath Road GL53 7HG 01242 522852

9. Suffolk Anthology Bookshop 17 Suffolk Parade GL50 2AE 01242 361362

13. Cheltenham Town Hall Imperial Square GL50 1QA 0844 576 2210


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, Jennie Farley, Gill Garrett, Chris Hemingway, Bill Holloway, Lesley Ingram, Michael Scaife d’Ingerthorpe, Michael Newman and Howard & Marilyn Timms and not least to those who wish to remain anonymous. Details of the Friends and Patrons Scheme may be found at www. Please consider becoming a Friend and supporting our valuable work. A big thank you also to Barbara Jordan who has 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

Our Media Partner The Gloucestershire Echo Cheltenham Borough Council Cheltenham Trust

and The

Dan Cooper, for his inspired and richly imaginative designs The Wilson Art Gallery & Museum and The Playhouse - for their support of the Festival The other venues that host our events, both during the Festival and throughout the year Helene Hewett of the Suffolk Anthology Bookshop Many thanks too to the Cheltenham Poetry Festival team who work to support and promote the Festival - David Clarke, Annie Ellis, Jennie Farley, Angela France, Chris Hemingway and Marilyn Timms And a special thanks to Howard Timms – Cheltenham Poetry Festival Webmaster.


Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2016  
Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2016