Cheltenham calling…

The Cheltenham Poetry Festival started in earnest yesterday. In a spectacular piece of bad timing, I spent the day on a flight to the US for my day-job and will be out of the country for most of the festival before heading to Cheltenham on Sunday 3rd May for our latest Rewiring History live event followed by a joint reading with Claire Trévien. Which means I’m going to miss out on some fantastic poetry in the intervening 10 days.

You can read the full festival programme here. There’s an abundance of good stuff to choose from and I’d strongly urge you to take a look.

I’ve enthused about Ben Parker’s poetry before. He’s also one of the most engaging, sonorous, humble and poignant live readers around, and someone I’d go out of my way to hear read again. He’s doing a joint reading with Aled Thomas this coming Saturday evening, details here.

The prospect of a double-act of canal laureate Jo Bell and transatlantic poetry supremo Robert Peake is too good to miss. Both poets are enthusiastic promoters and enablers of others’ work, but it’s great to have a chance to hear their own (much-lauded) poetry take centre-stage. Monday 27th April at 6pm.

Tim Liardet’s The Blood Choir is one of those rare collections that got under my skin years ago and has never lost its thrilling, unsettling force. His joint reading with Maurice Spillane on Sunday (4pm) promises to be something special.

Our latest Other Countries / Rewiring History live event (3pm, Sunday 3rd May) features in-person readings from David Clarke, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Lou Sarabadzic and Ross Cogan, plus a wealth of other poems from the anthology. Early reviews of the book are starting to appear and are really positive; and the last two live events (in London and Oxford) were big successes.

Finally, I’m looking forward to the chance to read with Claire Trévien again, and to giving some of the poems from my forthcoming first collection, ibant obscuri, a pre-publication outing (although Claire is such a strong reader of her own fantastic poems that I’m going to have to work hard to keep pace on the day…). 4.30pm, Sunday 3rd May.