Exciting News from WPF

The Trustees of the Wenlock Poetry Festival are delighted to announce that a special event is to take place on Sunday 6 May 2018. The occasion will mark the successes of the Festival thus far and give a picture of plans that we have going forward. Central to the day will be a special celebration of the dedication of the Festival’s founder, Anna Dreda, to Much Wenlock as “a perfect place for poetry”.

The programme will feature the ever-popular poetry busk (at Priory Hall from 2-5pm) and an evening performance with poets Paul Henry, Jo Bell and Philip Gross (at The Edge at 7pm).

Please put this date in your diary! Full details will be available here (and elsewhere) very soon. In the interim, we’ll be sharing the great community work that WPF has been doing behind the scenes via our blog and social media channels.

Desert Island Poems

By popular request, here is the list of some of the poems chosen by our guests at the Desert Island Poems sessions hosted by Fiona Talkington this year:

Saturday 23 April 2016

10.30 Daljit Nagra
WH Auden – Spain
Carolyn Forché – The Colonel
Seamus Heaney – A sofa in the forties

12.00 Matt Windle
Buddy Walefield – Convenience Stores
Buddy Wakefield – The Information man
GK Chesterton – The Donkey

14.00 Jonathan Edwards
Dylan Thomas – Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night
Also mentioned:
Charles Simic – Popular Mechanics
Deryn Rees-Jones – Lovesong to Captain James T. Kirk
Alan Gillis – Down through Dark and Emptying Streets

16.00 Jenny Swann
Keats – Ode on a Grecian Urn
Wendy Cope – Another Unfortunate Choice
Shakespeare – Sonnet 12 (‘When I do count the clock….’)
Adrienne Rich – Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

Sunday 24 April 2016

10.30 Open mic session
Audience choice included:
Housman – A Shropshire Lad
TS Eliot – Four Quartets
Hans Børli – Writing Poetry

12.00 Pauline Prior-Pitt
Robert Frost – The Road Not Taken
Eaven Boland – Night Feed

14.00 Paul Henry
WS Graham – Loch Thom
Louis MacNeice – Meeting Point

15.00 Andrew Fusek-Peters
Gerard Manley Hopkins – The Windhover
Adrian Henri – Song for a beautiful girl petrol pump attendant

WPF headliner Andrew McMillan wins the Guardian First Book Award

Book cover for Physical by Andrew McMillanWe are pleased and proud that Andrew McMillan has won the prestigious Guardian First Book Award for his collection, Physical.

Andrew will be joining us at WPF2016 where he will be headlining on Saturday 23 April with Don Paterson. Andrew and Don are both shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Prize, won last year by Jonathan Edwards, who is also appearing at WPF2016. Andrew will also be leading a creative writing workshop on the Sunday, on the theme ‘Time does not bring relief’. This will be Andrew’s third time at the festival. He says:

“Every time I’m blown away by the scope, ambition and depth of programming on offer from a relatively small place – for the weekend of the festival Wenlock feels like the centre of the world and ties in well to other events happening in the region, such as the regular poetry nights in Shrewsbury – it’s always a delight and a joy to be there.”

Festival Founder Anna Dreda says:

“I am pleased and proud that the Guardian have awarded Andrew their prestigious First Book Award, and they have got it exactly right. It’s a wonderful confluence of poetry moments: Andrew’s book is important, lyrical, muscular and accessible. It’s a joy to read.

Thanks in great part to our Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, Founding Patron of Wenlock Poetry Festival, many more people are seeking out poetry, either on the page, or at readings and festivals, than has been the case for many, many years. Acceptance and inclusion of the many sexualities we embrace freely, publicly, legally and joyfully in this country is greater now that it has ever been. Andrew’s poetry speaks to all these issues, and the Guardian has recognised and rewarded that.

Since first hearing Andrew read the incredibly moving poem ‘Urination’ at Wenlock Poetry Festival in 2013, and subsequently read from the long sequence ‘Protest of the Physical’ in a café in Shrewsbury in 2014, this moment has been written in the stars.”

Tickets for WPF2016, including those for Andrew’s headline event and workshop, will go on sale in January 2016, with a two-week priority booking period for Friends of Wenlock Poetry Festival. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates.

Jasmine Denholm announced as new Assistant Trainee Producer for Wenlock Poetry Festival

Jasmine Denholm with festival founder Anna DredaThe Wenlock Poetry Festival Board of Trustees is delighted to take National Poetry Day to announce that Jasmine Denholm will take up the post of Assistant Trainee Producer with responsibility for Children and Young People as well as Social Media from January 2016.

Jasmine is currently completing her apprenticeship at independent bookshop Wenlock Books, and on Saturday 10 October is presenting a day-long celebratory party of all things book-related as part of the national Books Are My Bag campaign which aims to promotes high street bookselling. Invited guests include authors, poets and publishers and the bookshop is using the day to showcase the many different reading groups they run. As well as working at Wenlock Books, Jasmine is a keen blogger at www.jassyfizzle.wordpress.com.

Jasmine will bring her skills to bear on making sure the Children and Young People’s strand of the Wenlock Poetry Festival 2016 will be exciting, friendly, challenging and, above all, fun. Jasmine says: ‘I’m really proud to have been asked to take on this role and I can’t wait to work with local schools to make this year’s festival as inclusive for children, teenagers and families as possible. It’s going to be lots of fun!”

Anna Dreda, Festival founder and owner of Wenlock Books says, “I am so pleased that Jasmine has agreed to take up this position. WPF2016 is keen to nurture and develop Jasmine’s talent while making sure that the children and young people who attend the festival get a fabulous experience of poetry that will inspire them to read, write and enjoy poetry throughout their lives.”

Wenlock Poetry Festival 2016 will take place from 22 – 24 April.

Meet Paul Francis, our Poet in Residence for 2016

Poet in Residence banner

We’re thrilled to announce that Paul Francis has been appointed as Poet in Residence for the Wenlock Poetry Festival 2016. A national prize-winning poet and the current Wenlock Poetry Festival Slam champion, Paul lives in Much Wenlock and has been an active and hard-working supporter of the festival since its inception. You can read more about him and his work on our Poet in Residence page.

Furthermore, Paul is a big fan of the sonnet and, over the years, has written more than three hundred of them. As the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death coincides with the first day of WPF 2016, we have chosen the sonnet as one of the threads that will be woven throughout this year’s programme. To whet our appetites, Paul will be providing a sonnet each week in the run up to the festival. Enjoy!