Poetry festival set for the autumn

This Is Wiltshire: Matt Holland Matt Holland

FOLLOWING from the ever-growing success of the town’s literature festival, its organisers have announced a new off-shoot for passionate and potential poets.

The Swindon Festival of Poetry will run for six days from October 4, this year’s National Poetry Day, and the star attraction is set to be Pam Ayres with her new autobiography, The Necessary Aptitude, which has numerous references to Swindon in it.

The festival will also showcase poetic talent from Swindon and the surrounding area, established names from London and further afield, and there will be poetry workshops. There will also be a Vintage Bus tour around the town.

The festival programme will have more than 20 events, aimed at all tastes and ages, taking place in a variety of venues, including the Central Library, the Artsite Gallery, Lower Shaw Farm and the Platform.

Festival director Matt Holland said: “We feel that the time is right for the established spring festival of literature to have an autumn sister: a Swindon Festival of Poetry.

“Now that we have prize-winning poets, keen readers, and lovers of literature in town, we are keen not only to serve them well but also to develop and embrace an even wider audience for poetry in Swindon. This is an exciting development.”

According to Matt there has been a growth in the popularity of poetry in Swindon in recent years, with the town now boasting a number of thriving poetry groups, including BlueGate Poets, Poetry Swindon, and Domestic Cherry.

Swindon Open Mic Poetry organiser Hilda Sheehan agreed.

“Not only have we got a lot of people involved with poetry in town but regularly, we have poets coming here from all over the country. They seem to like the poetry scene here,” she said. “There is a real love for poetry in town and the wish to hear, read, and enjoy great poems.”

Supported by Culture Swindon’s Artswords, there are reading groups, writing groups, and open mic poetry events almost every week in Swindon.

Next year, the Swindon Festival of Literature will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

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