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Winchester Poetry Festival 2023

Saturday 14 October

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The ARC - Performance Hall

FREE (by invitation)

Hampshire Young Poets celebration

Presented by Nazneen Ahmed Pathak

Saturday 14th October

11 - 12pm

Join Hampshire Poet, Nazneen Ahmed Pathak, as we celebrate those who entered the Hampshire Young Poets competition 2023, in this special prizegiving event.

Hampshire Young Poets is a partnership between Hampshire Cultural Trust and Winchester Poetry Festival. In this year’s competition, we asked entrants to write a poem on the theme of ‘home’.

 

Suitable for: children 4yrs+, families, all ages.

Duration: 1hr

Format: in person

Access: relaxed performance

By invitation
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The ARC - Learning Rooms

Free (booking advised)

Close Reading

Sarah Wimbush

Saturday 14th October 

11.30 - 12pm

 

Close readings are a firm favourite with the festival audience. Here is your opportunity to sit with a poet who features in our festival programme as they discuss with you a poem which they have found important or inspirational to their own particular journey.

Chosen poem - Bird by Liz Berry (from Black Country Chatto & Windus, 2014). Sarah will also be reading her own work in our Debut's Panel as part of the festival programme.

Sarah Wimbush’s first collection, Shelling Peas with My Grandmother in the Gorgiolands (Bloodaxe, 2022), explores her Gypsy/Traveller heritage and growing up in a Yorkshire coal-mining area. She is the recipient of a Northern Writers’ Award and the author of two prize-winning pamphlets: The Last Dinosaur in Doncaster (Smith | Doorstop, 2021) and Bloodlines (Seren, 2020)

Suitable for: all

Duration: 30mins max

Format: in person

Access: poem transcripts available

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The ARC - Community Space

Free (booking advised)

Poetry For All

Poetry incorporating the Makaton core vocabulary* with Philip Crisford

Saturday 14th October 

12 - 1pm

 

Poetry incorporating the Makaton core vocabulary* with Philip Crisford. A casual drop-in for all ages. No experience of Makaton needed.

Did you know that over 100,000 children and adults use Makaton symbols and signs? It is a unique and inclusive form of expression that empowers those with a wide range of learning and communication needs, and is increasingly used by the general public to connect. Between 12 and 1pm Philip Crisford will be exploring poetry through Makaton, and everyone is welcome. Join us to experience light-hearted poems enhanced by Makaton, and discover signs and symbols for yourself.

Philip Crisford discovered the world of Makaton whilst looking for ways to cope with his degenerative hearing loss. This had been the reason for his medical retirement from the fire service after a 27 year career. After completing his level 1 to 4 Makaton training in 2019 with Debbie Lakin, Philip was delighted to be offered the opportunity to deliver a weekly, signing supported, story session to preschool children at Jiminy Cricket’s Nursery in Ashford Hill. Developing his Makaton delivery further, Philip is now a regular at Poetry Open Mic nights at where he signs and reads a range of poems to a more grown up audience. Philip has a master’s degree in continuing education.

Suitable for: all ages and abilities

Duration: 1 hour drop-in session 

Format: in person

Access: relaxed performance

*Copyright The Makaton Charity 2023 (www.makaton.org ). With permission.

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The ARC - Learning Rooms

 

£6 for 12-17yrs

£20 for 18yrs+

Writing Poetry In Your Languages

Workshop with Andrea Davidson

Saturday 14th October

1 - 2:30pm

Supported by The Emma Press.

Is your life a mélange of languages, dialects, accents, or just plain words? Are you learning a new language right now? Of the many uses of multilingual poetry, one can be to help the poet and the poet’s readers learn and notice new things about other languages. Join Andrea Davidson, the author of Eggenwise & other poems, to try writing a poem in your languages.

Andrea Davidson is a writer from Toronto, Canada, a city that gets its name from the Mohawk word Tkaronto. She now lives in Leuven, a ring-shaped city in Belgium. As well as writing poetry, she teaches and researches English literature at the University of Antwerp. Eggenwise & other poems is her first book, which she will also be reading from in the festival programme.

The Emma Press is an independent publishing house based in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. It was founded in 2012 by Emma Dai’an Wright and specialises in poetry, short fiction and children’s books. The Emma Press is passionate about publishing literature which is welcoming and accessible.

Suitable for: ages 12yrs+

Duration: 1.5 hours

Format: in person

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The ARC - Performance Hall

£12

Debuts Showcase

Anita Pati, Sarah Wimbush, Kaycee Hill, James Patterson

Saturday 14th October

2 - 3:30pm

Four major new talents in British and Irish poetry, who are doing the work of recovering unheard voices and stories. Their poems explore the female body, working-class precarity, Romany Gypsy and traveller life, colonial trauma and the Troubles. All write with rage and joy. Readings will be followed by a discussion about the pleasures and pressures of being a debut poet, and how the poetry scene is changing.

Sarah Wimbush’s first collection, Shelling Peas with My Grandmother in the Gorgiolands (Bloodaxe, 2022), explores her Gypsy/Traveller heritage and growing up in a Yorkshire coal-mining area. Sarah is also delivering a Close Reading as part of the festival programme.

Anita Pati's debut poetry collection, Hiding To Nothing, was published in April 2022 by Pavilion Poetry and was shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize, with work highly commended in the Forward Prize.

Kaycee Hill won the inaugural James Berry Poetry Prize and received mentorship from Malika Booker. Kaycee’s debut collection Hot Sauce is published by Bloodaxe.

James Patterson's debut collection bandit country was shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and the John Pollard International Poetry Prize in 2022. His work explores the linguistic inheritance of region and community

Suitable for: all

Duration: 1.5hr

Format: in person event, readings followed by conversation

Access: BSL interpreted

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The ARC - Learning Rooms

£6

A Glimpse Into Tagore's World

Workshop with Susmita Bhattacharya

Saturday 14th October

3:30 - 5pm

Rabindranath Tagore is Bengal's beloved literary persona. His poems, stories, dance dramas, novels are celebrated by young and old around the world even today. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, and his portrayal of women, political and socio-economic observations make him relevant even in contemporary times. In the later stages of his life, he took up painting, and created some memorable artwork in his inimitable style.

Join Susmita Bhattacharya in this workshop, to respond to one of Tagore's poems and also to one of his paintings to create an ekphrastic poem.

Susmita Bhattacharya is an Indian writer and poet. Her debut novel is The Normal State of Mind (Parthian, 2015) and Table Manners (Dahlia Publishing, 2018) won the Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection in 2019 and was serialised on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Her poems have been included in anthologies, placed in competitions and recently been included in the Indian Poetry Yearbook 2023. She lives in Winchester.

 

Suitable for: all abilities

Duration: 1.5 hours

Format: in person

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The ARC - Children's Library

Free (booking advised)

Eggenwise & other poems

Andrea Davidson

Saturday 14th October

3:30 - 4pm

Can you feel homesick and at home at the same time? Ever felt lost for words but full of things to say?

Meet Andrea Davidson. In Eggenwise, Andrea explores moving to a different country, learning a new language, growing up and falling in love through poems that notice the remarkable in the everyday: a salted sprig of parsley, thundering raindrops on windowpanes, and the buzzzZZZzzz of a pesky pet fly. Through warm and conversational verse, Eggenwise invites you to step into the author’s new home in Belgium, to roll your tongue around new words, savour their sound and share your own story through poetry...

Andrea Davidson is a writer from Toronto, Canada, a city that gets its name from the Mohawk word Tkaronto. She now lives in Leuven, a ring-shaped city in Belgium. As well as writing poetry, she teaches and researches English literature at the University of Antwerp. Eggenwise & other poems is her first book. Andrea also leads a ‘Writing Poetry In Your Languages’ workshop for young people during the Festival weekend.

 

Suitable for: ages 12yrs+

Duration: 30mins max

Format: in person

Access: relaxed performance

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The ARC - Performance Hall

£12

The Waste Land: A Biography of a Poem

Matthew Hollis, Clare Pollard

Saturday 14th October

4:30 - 5:30pm

Award-winning biographer and poet Matthew Hollis has written a remarkable biography of T.S. Eliot’s celebrated poem The Waste Land on the centenary of its first publication, revealing the cultural and personal trauma that forged The Waste Land, focusing on Ezra Pound, who edited it; Vivien Eliot, who sustained it; and T. S. Eliot himself. Matthew will be delivering a lecture on this remarkable poem, and then in conversation with our artistic director Clare Pollard.

Matthew Hollis’s Ground Water was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread Prize for Poetry and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection; it was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas won the Costa Biography Award and the H. W. Fisher Biography Prize and was Sunday Times Biography of the Year. As well as discussing The Waste Land, he will also be reading from his new collection Earth House (Bloodaxe) to close the Festival weekend.

Clare Pollard is an award-winning poet and playwright based in London. She is the author of five poetry collections and the former Editor of the Modern Poetry in Translation magazine. Her first novel, Delphi, was published by Fig Tree in 2022. Clare is Winchester Poetry Festival’s Artistic Director.

Suitable for: all

Duration: 1hr

Format: in person event, lecture and interview

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The ARC - Performance Hall

£6

A Celebration Of Bengali Poetry

Nazneen Ahmed Pathak, Susmita Bhattacharya, Shamim Azad, Papia Ghoshal

Saturday 14th October

6 - 7:30pm

A celebration of our local Bengali language community, bringing together voices including that of our own Hampshire poet, Nazneen Ahmed Pathak, Shamim Azad and Papia Ghoshal, chaired by the novelist Susmita Bhattacharya.

Nazneen Ahmed Pathak is a British Bangladeshi writer, historian and visual artist who lives in Southampton. She has been published in Poem: International English Language Quarterly, Places of Poetry: Mapping the Nation in Verse (OneWorld Publications). Nazneen is Hampshire Poet 2022–23.

Susmita Bhattacharya is an Indian writer and poet. Her poems have been included in anthologies, placed in competitions and recently been included in the Indian Poetry Yearbook 2023. She lives in Winchester. Susmita is also leading a workshop responding to Tagore's creative work as part of the festival programme

Shamim Azad is a bilingual author and one of the best known Bengali poets in the UK. She has published and edited more than 37 books including novels, collections of poetry, collections of essays, plays, and children’s books both in Bengali and English.

Papia Ghoshal is a fine artist, poet, baul singer and actor from Kolkata. She is known in the international art, poetry and music world for her unique alternative style, boldness and imagination.

 

Suitable for: all

Duration: 1hr

Format: in person

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The ARC - Performance Hall

£12

Luke Wright's Silver Jubilee

Luke Wright

Saturday 14th October

8 - 9:30pm

Crack out the bunting! It’s Luke Wright’s Silver Jubilee.

However, thwarted in his attempts to hold a street party by the philistines on the council and unable to shift the over-ordered commemorative plates, Wright does what a poet does best, and takes a deep dive into himself. What follows is his most confessional show to date.

Wright was adopted as a baby and grew up believing that his adoption “wasn’t a big thing.” But one night he idly stumbled across his birth mother on Facebook. This window to a world that might have been his has thrown up deep questions about privilege, familial love, and destiny.

This show is an excavation of lives lived and not lived. Wright navigates his audience through a warm and honest hour of poems and stand-up with the directness and pathos that has made him one of the most popular live poets in England. With some wild experiments in form, a nervous kitten called Sir John Betjeman and a healthy smattering of drum n bass, Wright manages to navigate some heart-wrenching material and keep the laughs coming.

After a quarter of a century on stages across the world Luke Wright is a poet and raconteur at the top of his game. Both brazen and elegiac, Wright’s poems pull on the tidy hem of responsible existence to unravel the frustrations of the family, politics and masculinity in 21st century Britain. He marries his inventive writing with breath-taking performance skills to take audiences on an incredible emotional journey.

 

He’s the regular tour support for John Cooper Clarke and often MCs shows for The Libertines. He’s a regular on Radio 4 and has won a Fringe First for writing, a Stage Award for performance, and four Saboteur Awards. Since 2006 he’s worked primarily on his own, making 13 spoken word shows and three verse plays. He’s written poetry for two documentaries on Channel 4. The Seven Ages of Love (dir. Zara Hayes) was shortlisted for a Grierson Award. He’s written four poetry collections and his plays have been published as epic poems by Penned in the Margins. His latest pamphlet, After Engine Trouble (Rough Trade Books), won the Saboteur Award for best pamphlet in 2019. 

Suitable for: all

Duration: 1.5 hours 

Format: in person

Access: BSL interpreted

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