Author Archives: exeterpoetryfestival

Exeter Poetry Festival 2017 featuring Linton Kwesi Johnson on National Poetry Day Thursday 28th September 2017

Watch this space for further announcements and the full programme over the next few days…


Uncut Poets with Chrissy Williams at 19.30 on 29th June 2017 at Exeter Phoenix


June already and we’re halfway through the Uncut season (which brings us 20 hours of poetry annually – now there’s a sobering thought). June’s welcome guest is Chrissy Williams. Chrissy grew up in Devon and currently lives in London, where she is Digital Co-ordinator at the Poetry Library and Director of the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair. She is also Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire and a comics editor. Her first full collection of poems BEAR has just been published by Bloodaxe Books.

Alasdair Paterson will present the evening in the Phoenix Workshop, in tandem with a mystery co-presenter whose identity, unusually, will not be revealed in advance.

There are 10 open mic slots and no reserves held over from last month, so all to play for. As always, requests for a slot to Alasdair on FaceBook, at or at 07783 734523, but beware – they go fast.

Admission £5 (£3 concessions and open mic). Bar a few strides away! Hope to see you there.

Uncut Poets with Rebecca Gethin and Sue Proffitt at 19.30 on 25th May 2017 at Exeter Phoenix


Now that May be almost out (and yes, pedants, the May blossom has been out for a while) it’s time to cast a clout or two and come along to the latest installment of Uncut Poets, where we welcome two Devon poets as our guests.

Rebecca Gethin is a dear friend of Uncut and will be reading from two contrasting collections published this year – ‘A sprig of rowan’ (Three Drops Press) and ‘All the time in the world’ (Cinnamon Press).

Sue Proffitt will be presenting work from her first collection, ‘Open after dark’, which was published this year by Oversteps Books just as Sue won first prize in the Teignmouth Poetry Festival competition.

The evening will be presented by Alasdair Paterson and Uncut’s latest mystery co-presenter, believed to be Jennie Osborne. The usual 10 open mic slots are available on a first come first served basis — ask Alasdair at or on 07783 734523 if there are any left. Last month’s reserves (who came but weren’t called) will have priority but need to confirm.

Admission is £5 (£3 open mic and concessions) and the evening will begin at 7.30pm. We look forward to seeing you in the Exeter Phoenix Workshop.

Plymouth Language Club 16th May 2017 with Damian Furniss


At Plymouth Language Club on Tuesday 16th May 2017 in the Lecture Theatre at Plymouth College of Art, commencing at 7.15 pm there will be five readers: Damian Furniss (who will provide an extended set), Julian Isaacs, Dee Marshall, Patrick Holden and Marieluise Niehus.

Damian Furniss from Exeter, has published two collections of poetry with Shearsman Books, Chocolate Che (2010) and The Best of all Possible Worlds (2015). His first collection, The Duchess of Kalighat, was published by Tears in the Fence in 1995. He has also edited two anthologies from Seren, The Captain’s Tower (2011) and Newspaper Taxis (2013). He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics with David Cameron although he came to quite different political conclusions! His poetry, prose and reviews have been widely published and he has read at festivals and art centres around the country. He works in health and social care, a career inspired by working with dying destitutes in Kolkata.

His poetry is varied in its subject matter although his latest book, The Best of all Possible Worlds, takes a long hard look at the last hundred years’ history of bloodshed and loss. In the words of Ann Gray, the book “gives us the big figures of the last century, men and women we thought we knew, exquisitely present in chilling detail”. She goes on to claim that  “from the scatological romp of ‘The Black and Tans”, through  ‘Stalin’s Moustache’ to the tanka-like transparency of ‘Blooming Time’, Furniss ably registers both our prurient fascination with bodily remains (‘Rasputin’s Penis’) and our more haunted reckonings with the dead (‘The Unreturned’)”. Mixing mordant humour with deep compassion, it is a book to be reckoned with as well as enjoyed.

Julian Isaacs is a Plymouth-based musician and poet whose work in both fields combines an interest in the intellectual with a more popular outlook. His chapbook the breathless thrush of unevensong (2016) is inspired by titles from The Great American Songbook and mixes melancholy with crime and high protein content with rhyme. It’s not surprising, given the nature and formal dexterity of these poems, to realise that Julian is also a songwriter. He is an entertaining reader of his work and we look forward to seeing more of his poetry in published form.

It’s good to see the return of Dee Marshall to the local scene. Dee was a long-term attendee at Language Club and Poetry Exchange Events and was published in the anthology In The Presence of Sharks – New Poetry from Plymouth in 2006. Her work has also featured in magazines, including the fabled Terrible Work. Her work mixes aspects of mythology with more modernist techniques, including the cut-up and she is a great live reader. Dee lives in Ivybridge.

Patrick Holden is a lecturer at Plymouth University and has also become a regular on the Plymouth Poetry Circuit, having featured in events at The China House as well as The Language Club. His work is often funny yet sharply political and is always entertaining even when there is a hidden kick.

Marieluise Niehus is a native German who has lived in Plymouth since 2011. She has written poetry in German and English from the age of seventeen. It has been said that her work is coloured by spiritual, political and humanist matters and causes. She has been published in magazines in Germany, USA and the UK including Acumen, The Blotter Magazine and Haunted Summer (online). She has taken part in readings at Cross Country Writers and The Word as well as the Language Club.

The organisers of The Language Club are planning two further events in the autumn, details to follow. It’s always worth checking the Plymouth Language Club Facebook page for details. Although they don’t currently levy an entry charge we receive no corporate or state funding for these events and rely on contributions to maintain future readings.

Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival 26th to 28th May 2017: Programme and Tickets now available

bmpf 2017

Now in its sixth year, Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival is a friendly, week-end festival featuring the best of contemporary poetry and much more.

From 26th – 28th May 2017 in Sterts Arts Centre, Upton Cross, Cornwall there will be readings, workshops, talks, yoga, walks, exhibitions and music. This year’s main focus is on poetry & dance, exploring the relationship between the two art-forms in a variety of ways throughout the week-end.

Held at the wonderful Sterts Arts Centre and Theatre, in the heart of beautiful Bodmin Moor, the festival has established itself as both a highlight of the national poetry calendar and a much-loved event for the local community.

Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival succeeds in being much more than a poetry festival, and prides itself on offering something for everyone. By taking the view that poetry lies at the heart of all art, and that it best lends itself to working with all other art-forms, the festival encompasses music, theatre, film, visual art, and, this year in particular, dance.

The festival was founded, and is run by, Liskeard-based poets Ann Gray and David Woolley, who between them have decades of experience in all aspects of poetry projects, events and festivals. This year they have joined forces with dancer and dance activist Lois Taylor (pictured above) to curate ‘The Poetry of Dance, the Dance of Poetry’.

Star guest is Tishani Doshi, an award-winning Indian poet who is also a dancer. She is joined by other acclaimed poets David Constantine (pictured right) and Hannah Lowe, backed up by up and coming names like Rebecca Goss, Ed Doegar, Martha Sprackland and Adam Horovitz.

Dancing with the poets will be Lois Taylor, Sarah Fairhall, Ben Dunks, and Rob Mennear’s All Boys Dance Co. They will interpret the work of some of the poets as they read, as well as performing new pieces to poems by Charles Causley in his centenary year, and the work of Leonard Cohen. Cohen also features in the festival’s musical offering, as renowned chanteuse Barb Jungr presents ‘Hard Rain’ – her unique interpretations of songs by both Cohen and Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan!

There are also films about Causley and Dylan Thomas’s dancer wife Caitlin, and an exhibition of dance-poems from our poets, and exquisite drawings, etchings and paintings of dancers by Cornwall-based artist Stephanie Fraser.

The festival climaxes on Sunday night with an extraordinary tour de force from dancer Ben Duke. ‘Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me)’ is best described as a mix of dance, poetry and stand-up comedy. Ben won the 2016 National Dance Critics Award for outstanding male performance, and was nominated that year for the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance. This is one show that should not be missed.

Sterts Arts Centre has a bar, café and ample parking, and there is plenty of camping nearby. At only £50 for a full week-end ticket, it’s the only place for art-lovers to be for the Bank Holiday week-end.

The Festival organisers are running a shuttlebus this year and can even collect visitors from Liskeard Station if requested in advance via or tweeting to @david_westwords.

Uncut Poets with Claire Crowther at 19.30 on 27th April 2017 at Exeter Phoenix

bare george

We’re well into April already, bringing in the 4th Uncut of 2017. We’re delighted to welcome back as guest poet the always fresh and innovative Claire Crowther, who will be reading from her most recent Shearsman pamphlet ‘Bare George’, generated by a year’s residency in the Royal Mint. No, we don’t have the application forms.

Alasdair Paterson’s mystery co-presenter this month will be Chrissy Banks; the usual 10 open mic slots have now been taken but those wishing to get on the reserves list should contact Alasdair on FB, at or on 07783 734523. Admission is still pegged to £5 (£3 for open mic and concessions). We have reason to believe we’re still in the Workshop, reception at the Exeter Phoenix will confirm on the night.

Uncut Poets with Kenny Knight at 19.30 on 30th March 2017 at Exeter Phoenix

king kenny

Following the late unavailability of Ira Lightman, we’ve been able to bring forward our planned booking of the inimitable Kenny Knight to feature him as March Uncut guest poet, by special arrangement with The Buckingham Shed Collective, The Supermarket of Dreams and the Honicknowle Tourist Board. He’ll be reading from his new Shearman collection ‘A long weekend on the sofa’.

The evening will be presented by Alasdair Paterson and March’s mystery presenter, aka Elaine Jarvest Miller. As is traditional, there will be 10 open mic slots of 5 minutes apiece. These can be booked through Alasdair here on FB, at or on 07783 734523. Last month’s uncalled reserves will get priority but need to confirm. Admission is £5 (£3 open mic and concessions). 7.30pm start in the Workshop at Exeter Phoenix 

Vahni Capildeo at Plymouth Language Club on March 14th 2017 at 19.15


Vahni Capildeo, winner of the Forward Prize and shortlisted for the TS Eliot, will be reading at Plymouth Language Club, Plymouth College of Art lecture theatre, 7.15pm on 14th March. Other readers will be Jane Spiro, Norman Jope, Steve Spence and Rosie Smith.

Teignmouth Poetry Festival 2017: 16th to 19th March 2017 with Jo Shapcott, Mario Petrucci, Katrina Naomi, and Alasdair Paterson

teignmouth poetry festival 2017

teignmouth poetry 2017


Kelvin Corcoran is reading his poetry in the Queen’s Building of the University of Exeter on Thursday March 9th at 17.30

kelvin corcoran

Kelvin Corcoran will be reading his poetry on Thursday March 9th 2017 at 17.30 in the Senior Common Room of the Queen’s Building at the University of Exeter.