The 8th Festival of Suffolk Poetry is taking the best of what it had before the pandemic, learning from its virtual presentation last year, and adding some new variety and more guest poets to broaden its reach.
As it did last year, the festival will cover two days: Friday, 13 May and Saturday, 14 May, although only Friday will be virtual and Saturday will be live in our regular home, the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, Stowmarket, Church Walk, IP14 1ET.
Click the titles of the events for tickets.
Pascale Petit’s eighth collection, Tiger Girl (Bloodaxe Books, 2020), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize and for Wales Book of the Year. Her seventh collection, Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe Books, 2017), won the inaugural Laurel Prize for eco-poetry, the RSL’s Ondaatje Prize, and was a Poetry Book Society Choice. Four previous collections were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.
Friday 13th will be a day of virtual events to cater for our more distant friends and those unable to travel.
- 10:30-13:00 Pascale Petit presents a workshop ‘Transforming Trauma‘
Pascale says of this workshop: “In my books Mama Amazonica and Tiger Girl I have explored trauma through far-off locations, such as the Amazon rainforest and India. We will delve safely into trauma by estranging the material and embarking on fun adventures – in the imagination, or recollected – and read poets who are intrepid explorers of landscapes and the psyche.”
- 15:30-16:00 ‘Under the Influence‘ – Caroline Gay Way presents six poets who have been influenced by a well-known poem. Let us know when you buy your ticket whether you wish to be considered, and perhaps you will be one of them.
- 16:30-17:15 Open Mic – Sign up in order to read your own poems.
Rebecca Goss is a poet, tutor and mentor living in Suffolk. Her first full-length collection, The Anatomy of Structures, was published by Flambard Press in 2010. Her second collection, Her Birth, (Carcanet/Northern House, 2013) was shortlisted for the 2013 Forward Prize for Best Collection, won the Poetry category in the East Anglian Book Awards 2013, and in 2015 was shortlisted for the Warwick Prize for Writing and the Portico Prize for Literature. Carousel, her collaboration with the photographer Chris Routledge was published with Guillemot Press in 2018. Rebecca’s third full-length collection, Girl, was published with Carcanet/Northern House in 2019 and shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards 2019. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Cardiff University and a PhD by Publication from the University of East Anglia. Twitter: @gosspoems
Saturday 14th will be live at the John Peel Centre, Stowmarket, although the afternoon and evening will also be live-streamed on Zoom for those unable to attend.
- 10:00-12:30 Rebecca Goss guides a workshop ‘Exploring the Spectrum: The Colour of Poetry‘
André Mangeot’s latest collection (Blood Rain, Seren 2020) blends the public and personal in a powerful meditation on what we’re doing to the planet and ourselves, seen from many individual perspectives. His two earlier collections are Natural Causes (2003) and Mixer (2005) along with two books of short stories, A Little Javanese (2008) and True North (2010). His poems have appeared in the TLS, Spectator, New Statesman and won many competitions, including The Robert Graves Prize in 2019. For over ten years he was a member of the successful poetry performance group, The Joy of Six. A longtime resident of Suffolk, he now lives in Cambridge.
- 10:00-12:30 André Mangeot‘s workshop is called ‘Poetry, Politics and Contemporary Issues’
John Greening has received the Bridport Prize, the TLS Prize, an Arvon and a Cholmondeley Award. He has published over twenty collections, notably To the War Poets (2013) and The Silence (2019), both with Carcanet. There have been several recent pamphlets and his selected reviews and essays on poetry (Vapour Trails) appeared in 2020 from Shoestring. Earlier books include Heath (Nine Arches) with Penelope Shuttle and the Egypt memoir, Threading a Dream (Gatehouse). He has edited Edmund Blunden’s Undertones of War (OUP, 2015), the poetry of Geoffrey Grigson (Greenwich Exchange, 2017) and a selection of Iain Crichton Smith (Deer on the High Hills, Carcanet, 2021). His critical studies cover the Elizabethans, Hardy, Yeats, Edward Thomas, WW1 Poets, and Ted Hughes. Anthologies include Accompanied Voices: Poets on Composers, Ten Poems about Sheds and Hollow Palaces (modern country house poems – with Kevin Gardner, Liverpool UP, 2021). His American Selected appears from Baylor UP in 2023. A longstanding TLS reviewer and Gregory Award judge, he has collaborated with musicians such as Roderick Williams, Cecilia McDowall and Philip Lancaster. He was RLF Writing Fellow at Newnham College. More information at John Greening (poet) – Wikipedia
- 13:00-17:30 John Greening heads up the afternoon with a close reading of a significant poem plus a reading of his own, and is joined by Suffolk and Essex Poetry Cafés, storyteller Josh Harris, plus close readings from Peter Kennedy and Richard Whiting. The afternoon concludes with an Open Mic.
- 18:45-21:30 Two SPS poets, Sue Wallace-Shaddad and Ian Hartley open the evening, followed by a two-act play, All Change!, written in verse by SPS poet Peter Sandberg, with incidental music by Colin Whyles, and performed by professional actors. The festival closes with readings from guest poets Rebecca Goss and André Mangeot.