Wednesday, April 07, 2010

BRIDLINGTON: Poetry Festival 2010

Friday 11th June – Sunday 13th June
Sewerby Hall
YO15 1EA
Box Office 01482 392699

The inaugural Bridlington Poetry Festival comprises 32 events over three days, and promises to be a glorious weekend of poetry for readers and writers of all ages in the beautiful surroundings of Sewerby Hall, with its dramatic views out to sea.

Bridlington Poetry Festival has been organised by the Wordquake project, which receives regular funding from Arts Council England and East Riding Libraries. Wordquake was set up to promote creative writing and reading throughout the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Some of poetry’s best-loved figures will be performing, including Simon Armitage, whose new book of poems, Seeing Stars (Faber) is published this spring. He headlines the first evening of the festival, reading at 8.30pm.

Simon Armitage said: "I spent many holidays in Bridlington, most of them walking between the town and Sewerby along the cliffs, looking enviously at those who went past on the model train. I liked the zoo; a hyacinth macaw would come and sit on your shoulder, and a llama once spat at my dad. It was a lifetime ago, another country, and I'm looking forward to being there again."

Headlining the Saturday evening – and squeezed into the programme at the last minute – is the highly acclaimed Irish poet, Paul Durcan.

Other highlights include three Poetry Doubles events, in each of which a major poet reads with his or her own choices of ‘Double’ – a poet at first-collection stage. Poetry Doubles was first staged at Friargate Theatre in York in 2003, when then-Poet Laureate Andrew Motion launched the series with his choice of Colette Bryce as ‘Double’. Seven years later, Colette returns to headline the first of Bridlington’s Poetry Doubles readings, now with her own choice of Katharine Kilalea as ‘Double’.

Katharine, whose debut collection, One Eye’d Leigh (Carcanet), was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2009, was born in South Africa and now lives in London.

The second Poetry Doubles features Robin Robertson, winner of the 2006 Forward Poetry Prize for Swithering (Picador) with his ‘Double’, J.O. Morgan, whose 70-page single poem Natural Mechanical (CB Editions) won the prestigious Aldeburgh First Collection Prize in 2009.

The third is headlined by Daljit Nagra, winner in 2007 of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection with Look We Have Coming to Dover (Faber). His ‘Double’ is young poet and film maker Heather Phillipson, one of the four ‘Faber New Poets’ whose debut pamphlets were published in 2009.

Colette Bryce, whose first collection, The Heel of Bernadette won the 2000 Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, makes a second appearance at the festival, reading from and talking about the poetry of Dorothy Molloy with poet and Assistant Director of the festival, Antony Dunn. Molloy, who was born in County Mayo and lived in County Dublin, died in 2004, just days before the publications by Faber of her first collection, Hare Soup.

Antony and Colette will be reading from Hare Soup and from the two posthumous collections of poems assembled from her papers, Gethsemane Day (Faber 2006) and Long-distance Swimmer (Salmon Poetry 2009).

Jacob Polley, author of two acclaimed collections, The Brink (Picador 2003) and Little Gods (Picador 2006) will be announcing the results of the East Riding Open Poetry Competition, whose hundreds of entries he has judged. Polley will afterwards be reading from his own poems.

Other poets and academics performing, giving talks and leading seminars include Martha Kapos, C.L. Dallat, Mario Petrucci, Anne-Marie Fyfe, James Byrne, Nigel Forde, David Wheatley, Cliff Forshaw and Kath McKay.

Professor James Booth (University of Hull) marks the 25th anniversary of Philip Larkin’s death with a talk entitled Larkin’s Rhymes.

There’s an eclectic programme of poetry workshops throughout the weekend, and special drama and word-play events for children and parents on Saturday and Sunday morning – two of which involve a visit to Sewerby Hall’s very own zoo.

Bridlington Poetry festival also celebrates the 200th issue of Ambit, the legendary poetry magazine with its equally legendary editor, Dr Martin Bax, and some surprise guests…

And there’s an opportunity for anyone to get up and perform their poetry, with Friday and Saturday night’s “open mic” sessions. And you never know who might be in the audience.

For complete festival listings visit

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