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There’s much more to the festival than the readings and events at the Discovery Centre, as the wide-range of our community activity demonstrates. Below you can link through to some of our past projects and read about our exciting forthcoming activity.

Past Projects
Emergency Poet

Emergency Poet

The world’s first and only mobile poetic first aid service

A mix of the serious, the therapeutic and the theatrical, the Emergency Poet offers consultations inside her ambulance and prescribes poems as cures. In the waiting room under an attached awning Nurse Verse dispenses poemcetamols and other poetic pills and treatments from theCold Comfort Pharmacy. There are skulls, jars of eyeballs and other body parts inside the ambulance.


Free as a Word

In partnership with Solent Mind, in September the festival is providing a series of creative poetry writing workshops for the clients of the Winchester Wellbeing Centre. Called Free as a Word they will focus on encouraging participants to express themselves and develop their confidence through writing poetry. 


Solent Mind is the leading mental health charity across Hampshire. Find out more about what they do at

Treloar Poetry.jpg

Treloar College 2016

A series of workshops for the physically disabled students and young people at Treloar School near Alton, Hampshire. This pioneering school and college was established in 1908 by Sir William Purdie Treloar, Lord Mayor of the City of London, and used to be known as Lord Mayor Treloar College. Catering for students aged from 2-25, Treloar’s is one of the country's leading providers of education, care, therapy, medical support and independence training for disabled young people, preparing them for the challenges of independent living and personal development, learning skills for life and gaining qualifications or employment. 


A Single Line

What would a single line of poetry look like if it became a physical object? It would, of course, depend on the line. In the two weeks before the poetry festival, the Fine Art students of Winchester School of Art will be studying poems by all of the poets appearing in the festival. From this material, they will select just one line to serve as the starting point for a large-scale collective artwork, which they will construct in the sculpture studio. The department has made a habit of beginning its academic year in this way, with some 150 students collaborating on a single artwork. The results are unpredictable but always impressive. 


Poems in Waiting Rooms

What do you expect to read on a notice board in a hospital waiting area?  Probably not a poem by a celebrated poet, but that’s exactly what you will find in the waiting rooms of the Basingstoke & North Hampshire Hospital and the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester in the run up to our next festival. In a joint project with the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust we have collaborated to bring poetry into hospitals because it is now well recognised that poetry can provide support and comfort, as well as distraction, in a healing environment.

Sonnet reading

Shakespeare Sonnets

We had a fantastic day on Saturday 23 April when we presented an all-day reading of all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets as a part of the Shakespeare400 celebrations taking place across the country. The event was a huge success with a constant flow of listeners and participants, including some remarkably good readers young and not so young, right through until the end.

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