Saturday, 14 May 2022
The 8th Festival of Suffolk Poetry was held over two days. Friday 13 May was online, and Saturday, 14 May was live at the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts in Stowmarket.
The day began with workshops from Rebecca Goss and André Mangeot. Rebecca led a workshop ‘Exploring the Spectrum: The Colour of Poetry’, André’s workshop was ‘Poetry, Politics and Contemporary Issues’.
The afternoon provided a rich variety of poetry and, for the first time, spoken word.
Only three Poetry Cafés elected to take part, Waveney Poets, Poetry Aloud (Bury St Edmunds) and Felixstowe Café Poets.
There were also close readings from John Greening, who also headlined the afternoon, David Canning and Richard Whiting.
John Greening dug deeply into ‘As the Team’s Head Brass’ by Edward Thomas.
David Canning analysed ‘Middle Name with Diacritics’ by Natalie Linh Bolderston.
Richard Whiting studied ‘A Little Bar On Rose Street’ by Joe Williams.
Between the close readings and cafés and readings from David Canning and Pam Job, Josh Harris, a storyteller from Bury St Edmunds, entertained with traditional stories from around the UK.
After John Greening’s headline spot, the afternoon ended with an Open Mic.
After a break for a meal from the Green Café in St Peter’s Hall, the evening began with readings from invited SPS poets Ian Hartley and Sue Wallace-Shaddad.
There was then a very original item, a one-act verse play by Peter Sandberg, ‘All Change!’. This love story that involved a model railway causing stress in a relationship was performed excellently by Virginia Betts, Steve Roche, Monika Pavlikova, Richard Spencer and Caroline Gay Way. Caroline Gay Way also directed the play quite excellently. Incidental music (and some sound effects) was provided by Colin Whyles. Projected backdrops were provided by Derek Adams. The play can be viewed below or on YouTube here.
The day ended with the headline poets André Mangeot and Rebecca Goss. We were lucky to have Rebecca so soon after her recent win on the Sylvia Plath Prize.
All in all, the festival provided a rich mix of poetry and spoken word that was appreciated by all who attended.
The galleries below give a view of the day from beginning to end. All photographs by Derek Adams Photography except where noted.