The Ledbury Poetry Festival has been running for 27 years and although it’s right on the doorstep, and i am quite a poetry fan, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never visited. This year will be different – and of course, I’ll be taking the bus.
The town and the surrounding area have attracted and inspired poets for generations. John Masefield, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Frost to name a few.
Today Ledbury Poetry has a permanent home in Poetry House at the Barrett Browning Institute (the clock tower building) in the centre of Ledbury. There are weekly events year round and the climax is the annual Ledbury Poetry Festival this year running from 30 June to 9 July.
This is the biggest poetry festival in the UK and features poets from all over the world. Inspiring, inclusive and international in its programme, everyone is welcome to this celebration of poetry. The line-up includes live readings and conversations, workshops, music, dance exhibitions and films. There is lots on for the whole family too including children’s writers and events for schools and colleges. Enjoy the Festival atmosphere with street performers and a whole day market celebration on the tenth and final day. Round-off your day with fabulous evening performances and slams.
There is a packed programme of events – many free – taking place in locations around the town in wonderful historic buildings, the walled garden and the churchyard.
And it’s not just about sitting listening either, there are all sorts of ways of enjoying your poetry. We love the idea of the combined poetry reading and wild swim, and the poetry tasting at Hay Wines sounds pretty cool too.
Notable speakers this year include poet laureate Simon Armitage and children’s laureate Joseph Coelho, Micheal Morpurgo, Monty Don and archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
Stephanie Sy-Quia, this year’s Guest Curator, says: “I am absolutely delighted to be the guest curator for the festival this year. The whole festival team have been so accommodating and welcoming. This year, I really wanted to emphasise that poetry is a thriving thing in every space – be that a churchyard or a campsite (locations for some of our events), and open to all! We’ll be talking about mediaeval mysticism, jellyfish consciousness, and tracking the figure of Caliban through pop culture. I hope you can join us!”
Even if you’re not a particular poetry fan, Ledbury has a great, celebratory atmosphere during the festival, and the week will give us all new ways to enjoy and experience one of our favourite towns.
Book tickets and find out more at: https://ledburypoetry.org.uk/