What's On

Below are listed the events in the Winchester Poetry Festival with details of times and venues. Tickets are available in person or by telephone (01962 873603) from the Winchester Discovery Centre Box Office. You can also book online by clicking on the title links below.

 

Close Readings and Journal Letters are free but you do need to book tickets as spaces are limited.

Click here for alternative dates:

Sunday 11 October

The Ghazal: Craft and Context 

9.00am - 11.00am

Workshop with Aviva Dautch

In this workshop we will think about why the ghazal is a poetic form so well suited to portraying personal and political themes with complexity and nuance. We'll explore the international history of the ghazal, consider the reasons behind its technical attributes and learn how to write our own.

£23.00

 

Winchester Discovery Centre 

Learning Suite

The Pious Cat

12 noon - 12.20pm

Short talks by Don Share

Don Share is an American poet. He is the chief editor of Poetry magazine in Chicago.

Don will give two short talks exploring poems that have significance for him. 

The first poem is Basil Bunting's 'The Pious Cat'.

This event is free but tickets should be booked as spaces are limited.

 

Winchester Discovery Centre 

Learning Suite

alternate names for black boys

10.00 - 10.45am

Short talks by Don Share

Don Share is an American poet. He is the chief editor of Poetry magazine in Chicago.

Don will give two short talks exploring poems that have significance for him. 

The second short talk explores Danez Smith's 'alternate names for black boys'.

This event is free but tickets should be booked as spaces are limited.

 

Winchester Discovery Centre 

Learning Suite

Poetry Live

6.45pm - 8.00pm

Carol Ann Duffy

Greg Gilbert

 

In 2019 Carol Ann Duffy chose Southampton musician and artist Greg Gilbert’s poetry collection for publication as a Laureate’s Choice. Love Makes a Mess of Dying is a book about Gilbert’s experience of being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. It’s a clearsighted and lushly lyrical exploration of love, fear and physicality. This reading brings Gilbert and the former Poet Laureate together for the first time. Carol Ann Duffy is one of the most significant names in British poetry, and one of the few poets to achieve both commercial and critical success. Her poems are widely read and broadcast, and studied in schools around the world. Duffy became Britain's first female Poet Laureate in 2009.

Preparing and controlling your voice and breathing to give your poems their best possible presentation to an audience, with a leading voice & performance coach.

£15.00 (Concs £14.00)

 

Winchester Discovery Centre 

Learning Suite

Political Love Poems

9.00am - 11.00am

Workshop with Mary Jean Chan

Performance Skills : Kate Firth

Preparing and controlling your voice and breathing to give your poems their best possible presentation to an audience, with a leading voice & performance coach.

£23.00

 

Winchester Discovery Centre 

Learning Suite

Things Being Various

12.45pm - 1.45pm

Paul Muldoon on the poet’s craft and inspiration

 

In conversation with Jon Sayers, Irish poet and professor of poetry Paul Muldoon discusses ‘five things’ that have inspired him and are symbolic of stages in his artistic development. Muldoon will accompany the discussion with readings from his recent work. This fascinating and thought-provoking approach to discussing poetics and craft was a hugely popular event at the last festival.

 

Paul Muldoon has published thirteen collections of poetry, most recently Frolic and Detour. He’s won both the Pulitzer Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize and he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. He’s been described as ‘the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War’ by the TLS.

 

Jon Sayers is a poet, critic and playwright. He devised the brilliantly successful format for ‘Things Being Various’ for the inaugural Winchester Poetry Festival in 2014.

£10.00 (Concs £9.00)

Under 25s tickets available

 

Winchester Discovery Centre 

Learning Suite

The Distant Mentor

4.00pm - 5.00pm

The Robert Hutchison Lecture: The Distant Mentor -  Stevie Smith & Sylvia Plath 

You can’t just go and say, “You’re a poet, so am I, so I am coming to dinner next Thursday’ (Stevie Smith)

Sunday afternoon’s Robert Hutchinson Lecture on Stevie Smith and Sylvia Plath explores the relationship between two extraordinary British and American poets who never met, but whose work and lives were intricately connected.  Plath called herself a ‘desperate Smith addict’, delighting in Smith’s ear for gossip, cruelty, and uneasy humour, but Smith’s lukewarm response to her letter ensured they would come no nearer than a ‘friend’s friend’ distance. Bringing together live readings, interviews, audio recordings, and personal correspondence, Dr Will May considers what these two distinctive writers can tell us about who we choose as our mentors, and why they don’t always play along.

 

Dr Will May is an Associate Professor in English at the University of Southampton, where he researches poets that trouble critics and modes that trouble poets. He edited The Collected Poems and Drawings of Stevie Smith (Faber), described as ‘a landmark volume brimming with wit, surprises, sardonic pleasures, and abiding compassion’ (Booklist).

 

£10.00

Under 25s tickets available

 

Winchester Discovery Centre 

Performance Hall

Life Expectancy

11.15am - 12.15pm

Fiona Benson & Jackie Wills

Two clear and resonant voices, Fiona Benson and Jackie Wills are both necessary writers for our times. Fiona Benson’s recent collection Vertigo & Ghost begins with a celebrated sequence in which Zeus, the arch-rapist appears in contemporary guise, classical myth fusing with today’s #metoo movement. Full of ‘blindingly bright explosions’ (Charlotte Higgins in The Guardian), it won the 2019 Forward Prize for Best Collection. Jackie Wills is a journalist, activist, fiction writer and poet. Her most recent collection A Friable Earth is lyrical and plainspoken, and full of elegant, but earthy poems of compassion and laughter. Warwick Review said her poetry about the female body ‘evokes claustrophobic intimacy, her other poetry takes vast imaginative leaps in both content and form’.

£10.00 (Concs £9.00)

Under 25s tickets available

 

Winchester Discovery Centre 

Performance Hall

Touch of
Grace

2.00pm - 3.30pm

Mary Jean Chan

Aviva Dautch

Dan O’Brien

 

All three of this afternoon’s poets have documented trauma and survival in their ultimately life-affirming work. Mary Jean Chan’s Flèche was published to huge acclaim in 2019, and she was the youngest poet to win the Costa Prize for Poetry for this book. It’s a searing account of historical, cultural and psychological oppression, linguistically innovative, subtle and shifting. Aviva Dautch is a poet, academic and educator. Her delicately beautiful sequence of poems about growing up with a mother who was a hoarder was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and won the Primers Prize in 2017. Dan O’Brien is an American poet and playwright. His first collection War Reporter, was derived from conversations with the war photographer Paul Watson, blending his harrowing memories into remarkable lyric poetry, and it won the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Book Award. US biographer and critic Jay Parini described it as a ‘book-length sequence of poems that anyone interested in the fate of American poetry should read, even must read.’

£10.00 (Concs £9.00)

Under 25s tickets available

 

Winchester Discovery Centre 

Performance Hall

Firebirds

5.15pm - 6.15pm

Mona Arshi

Menna Elfyn

 

Poetry of meditation and healing from two of the most brightly compassionate voices working today. Poet and former human rights lawyer Mona Arshi has published two collections. Small Hands, a ‘lyrical and exact exploration of the aftershock of grief’ won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2015. Mona Arshi’s poems have been featured on the London Underground, and have been described as ‘micro-worlds of dream-like intensity’ (Acumen). Menna Elfyn is the best-known and most-translated of all the Welsh-language poets and she is notable for the sheer range and inventiveness of her work. Her most recent collection, the Welsh-English bilingual Murmur was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. She’s a writer, activist for Welsh language and culture and the great Irish poet Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill  said of her that she was a firebird, giving ‘hope to all writers in lesser spoken languages that great things can rise from the ashes’.  

£10.00 (Concs £9.00)

Under 25s tickets available

 

Winchester Discovery Centre 

Learning Suite

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