2015 programme cover


Tickets for events can be purchased:

– Online, using the links below or by browsing upcoming events

– By phone, 01392 667080

– In person in advance from Exeter Phoenix Box Office, Gandy Street, Exeter,

– In person at the venue on the night

Quick links to box office:

04/10 – Exeter Poetry Festival Slam with MORWEENA GRIFFITHS and TIM KING (Tickets from The Bikeshed Theatre on the night)

05/10 – ‘Poetry and Musical Duo’ with ANDY BROWN and MARC WOODWARD (FREE)

05/10 – The Broadsheet launch with SIMON WILLIAMS and SUSAN TAYLOR (FREE)

06/10 – ‘Making it New’ with PATIENCE AGBABI and IAN DUHIG

07/10 – ‘Two Compelling Female Voices’ with JULIA COPUS and GRETA STODDART

08/10 – ‘The Laureate’s Choice’ with DAVID BORROTT, NICHOLA DEANE and RACHEL McCARTHY

09/10 – ‘Beyond Borders’ with MONIZA ALVI and MIMI KHALVATI

10/10 – Writing workshop with GRETA STODDART (Bookings via

10/10 – ‘Ovid’s Heroines’ with CLARE POLLARD

10/10 – ExLibris launch and competition results (FREE)

10/10 – ‘Three Devon Poets’ with FRANCES CORKEY THOMPSONJANE SPIRO and JENNIE OSBORNE (Tickets from Exeter Central Library on the night)

Download the full 2015 programme or read it here:

Sunday 4th Oct


Exeter Poetry Festival Slam 2013 hosted by Morwenna Griffiths and Tim King

Image courtesy Taking the Mic

Venue: The Bikeshed Theatre, 162-163 Fore Street, Exeter EX4 3AT

7.30 pm, £5 at the door

The Festival kicks off with the annual Exeter Poetry Slam, hosted by Morwenna Griffiths and Tim King. Twelve of the finest poetic performers from the South West will go head to head! To apply to take part, email:

Monday 5th Oct

ANDY BROWN  and MARC WOODWARD Poetry & Musical Duo

Andy Brown credit Corinna Wagner

Photo by Corinna Wagner

Venue: Exeter University, Queen’s Building, Senior Common Room, The Queen’s Drive EX4 4QH

5.30 – 7.00 pm, free open event, wine (by donation)

An evening of poetry, wine and song with Andy Brown, Director of Writing at  the University of Exeter, academic, poet, novelist and guitarist, and Marc Woodward, poet, singer and virtuoso mandolinist. They will be reading from their new chapbooks: Andy’s Watersong (Shearsman, 2015), and Marc’s A Fright of Jays (Maquette, 2015) with musical interludes.


The Broadsheet

Photo by Ian Beech

Venue: City Gate Hotel, Cellar Bar, Lower North Street, Exeter EX4 3RB

7.30 – 10 pm, free open event

Launching the latest issue of the annual, Festival-themed poetry publication The Broadsheet edited by Susan Taylor and Simon Williams, featuring work by writers from across the South West. Join us for an entertaining night of readings from a packed issue in the Cellar Bar.

Tuesday 6th October

MAKING IT NEW: Inspired re-fashioning of two Medieval classics brought to you with wit and flair by PATIENCE AGBABI and IAN DUHIG

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Photo by Lyndon Douglas

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Photo by Gerry Cambridge

Venue: Exeter College Theatre, Ground Floor, CCI Building, off Queen Street, Exeter EX4 3SP

7.30 – 9.00 pm (bar opens at 7.00 pm), £8.00 / students and over 65’s £5

Facilitated by Andy Brown, Director of Writing at the University of Exeter, inviting open questions from the audience after the readings.

PATIENCE AGBABI poet, lecturer and cutting-edge word artist who draws on rap, jive and other musical influences, melding traditional poetic forms with contemporary idiom. She will be reading from Telling Tales (Canongate, 2014), short-listed for The Ted Hughes Award – a portrayal of 29 characters encountered at different stops along the way from the Old Kent Road to Canterbury, the Seven Deadly Sins  also featuring in this vibrantly executed collection. This is her fourth book after R.A.W. (Gecko Press, 1995), Transformatrix (Canongate, 2000), and Bloodshot Monochrome (Canongate, 2008).

IAN DUHIG former homelessness worker whose poetry and dazzling lexicology draws inspiration from a wide range of artists and forms including art and music  – from the medieval with The Clerks early music ensemble, to the avant-garde with Christopher Fox. Ian has written six books of poetry with his seventh, The Blind Man’s Road due out from Picador in February 2016. Winner of the Forward Best Poem Prize, the National Poetry Competition twice, three times shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and joint winner of a Shirley Jackson Award for one of his short stories. Ian is a Cholmondeley Award recipient. He will be reading from The Speed of Dark (Picador, 2007) and other collections. They include The Bradford Count (Bloodaxe, 1991), The Mersey Goldfish (Bloodaxe, 1994), Nominies (Bloodaxe, 1998) and The Lammas Hireling (Picador, 2003).

Wednesday 7th October

Sponsored by the Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation – poetry of precision and emotional charge by two compelling  female voices:  JULIA COPUS and GRETA STODDART

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Photo courtesy Julia Copus

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Photo by Julia Mear

Venue: Exeter College, First Floor, CCI Building, off Queen Street, Exeter EX4 3SP

7.30 – 9.00 pm (bar opens at 7.00 pm), £8 / students and over 65’s £5

Poet, radio dramatist and childrens’ writer JULIA COPUS will be presenting her poem cycle Ghost Lines, first directed by Fiction Factory’s John Taylor for Radio 3, with biographical interludes and electric cello recordings by Jacob Shirley. Ghost a “wittily honest personal testimony” follows the story of a couple undergoing the process of IVF treatment. Her poetry collections include The Shuttered Eye (Bloodaxe, 1995) winner of the Eric Gregory Award, In Defence of Adultery (Bloodaxe, 2003), and the The World’s Two Smallest Humans (Faber, 2012). She has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize, the Costa Book Awards and the T.S. Eliot Prize.

GRETA STODDART poet, writer and tutor for the Poetry School and the Arvon Foundation, reading from her new and 3rd book, Alive Alive O (Bloodaxe, 2015) – a subtle and poised  collection  which  focuses on mortal life as a theme to behold. Greta published her first book of poems, At Home in the Dark (Anvil) in 2001, poems distinguished  by their carefully balanced paradoxes and for which she was awarded the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 2002. In 2008, she was short-listed for the Costa Book Awards for her second collection, Salvation Jane (Anvil).

Thursday 8th October celebrating NATIONAL POETRY DAY


Rachel McCarthy

Photo courtesy Rachel McCarthy

Venue: Exeter College Theatre, Ground Floor, CCI Building, off Queen Street, Exeter EX4 3SP

7.30 – 9.00 pm (bar opens at 7.00 pm), £8.00 / students and over 65’s £5

Bold, sophisticated and imaginative poetry by three of the four younger poets selected by Carol Ann Duffy to feature as the Laureate’s Choices, reading from their 2015 pamphlets published by The Poetry Business (smith/doorstop). Appearing will be DAVID BORROTT from Lancashire (Porthole), NICHOLA DEANE from Oxfordshire (Trieste) and Exeter’s own RACHEL McCARTHY (Element).

Fri 9th October


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Photo courtesy Moniza Alvi

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Photo by Caroline Forbes

Venue: Exeter College, First Floor CCI Building, off Queen Street, Exeter EX4 3SP

7.30 – 9.00 pm (bar opens at 7.00 pm), £8.00 / students and over 65’s £5

The Festival traditionally features one or more celebrated poets whose writing reflects their  international heritage. This year the Festival welcomes two outstanding award-winning British poets whose work is culturally enriched by their Pakistani and Iranian roots.

Pakistani-British poet and tutor MONIZA ALVI with three Bloodaxe-published collections nominated for the T.S. Eliot Prize: The Country at My Shoulder (1993) also shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award,  Europa (2008), and At the Time of Partition (2013). Other collections with Bloodaxe include: Carrying my Wife (2000), Souls (2002), How the Stone Found Its Voice (2005), Split World: Poems 1990 – 2005, and Homesick for the Earth (2011).

Iranian-British poet, tutor, actor, director and founder of The Poetry School, MIMI KHALVATI is a prolific and courageous writer of poetry characterised by its melodic quality. She was 47 when her first book appeared, White Ink (Carcanet, 1991) since which time she has published seven further collections with Carcanet, winning an Arts Council Writers’ Award for Mirrorwork and recipient of a Cholmondely Award in 2006. Most recent collections include The Meanest Flower (2007) and Child: New and Selected Poems 1991 – 2011. One of the foremost exponents of the ghazal in English.

Sat 10th Oct

GRETA STODDART Writing Workshop

Greta Stoddart

Photo courtesy Greta Stoddart

Venue: Exeter Central Library, Ground Floor Meeting Room, Castle Street, Exeter EX4 3PQ

10 am – 12.00 noon, £15.00 payment in advance

This workshop will focus on the SHORT POEM exploring the question “When are a few lines enough to make a poem, rather than a mere impression?”  Class size: 12 delegates. Please contact to reserve a place.

CLARE POLLARD and Jaybird Live Literature – performing Ovid’s Heroines

2015 CP image

Photo courtesy Jaybird Live Literature

Venue: Voodoo Lounge, Exeter Phoenix, Bradninch Place, Gandy Street, Exeter EX4 3LS

3.30 – 5.00 pm, £9 / students and over 65’s £6

In his Heroides written in Rome around 20BC, Ovid created a series of letter poems in the voices of women from Greek and Roman myth. Poet CLARE POLLARD’s new free verse translation, published as Ovid’s Heroines (Bloodaxe 2015), rediscovers Ovid’s work for the 21st century, bringing to life a cast of women who are brave, bitchy, sexy, horrifying, heartbreaking and surprisingly modern. In this new production by Jaybird, who brought us last year’s innovative Ramayana, Clare reads, recites and performs her poems, and love letters fly back and forth between the ancient world and modern Britain.

EXLIBRIS  2015 on the theme of Threads

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Photo by Gregory Pearson

Venue: Exeter Central Library, Rougemont Room, Castle Street, Exeter EX4 3PQ

6.30 – 7.30 pm, free open event

Launching Exeter Poetry Festival’s pamphlet EXLIBRIS 2015 featuring 12 selected works by Devon based poets  judged to be outstanding, written on the theme of Threads – responding to local textile and craft industries past and present.


Congratulations to the following Devon poets whose poems will be featured in this year’s Festival anthology:

David Arnott, Spin A Yarn

Graham Burchell, She Went Away Singing

Ian Royce Chamberlain, Freehand

Chris Considine, Dyed in the Wool and Spinster

Sally Douglas, The Cliff

Rebecca Gethin, Stitched Up

Virginia Griem, No Tears Now Child As You Lie So Quiet

Hannah Linden, Finishing Touches

Susan Taylor, Shepherdess RAMM

Clare Hepworth-Wain, How We Came To Make Lace

Simon Williams, Spinning & Weaving

THREE DEVON POETS: Frances Corkey ThompsonJennie Osborne and Jane Spiro

Readings from NEW COLLECTIONS by 3 Devon Poets

Venue: Exeter Central Library, Ground Floor Meeting Room, Castle Street, Exeter EX4 3PQ

7.45 – 8.45 pm, £5 (tickets at the door)

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Photo courtesy Frances Corky Thompson

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Photo courtesy Jennie Osborne

Photo courtesy Jane Spiro

Photo courtesy Jane Spiro

Join us for the Festival’s concluding event to celebrate new collections by three Devon poets:

Frances Corkey Thompson, Wild Gooseberries of Hailung (Indigo Dreams, 2015)

Jennie Osborne, Colouring Outside the Lines (Oversteps Books, 2015)

Jane Spiro, Playing for Time (Oversteps Books, 2015)

2015 programme cover

The Festival wishes to thank the staff and students of Exeter College for their support and generosity in making available the College’s Centre for Creative Industries (CCI) and to our partners for their support. 

Arts Council England



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Exeter College

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ExCite Poetry

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Exeter Phoenix

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Devon Libraries

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Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation

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The Bikeshed Theatre

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The Poetry Business

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The Poetry School

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Tiverton Museum

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University of Exeter

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Jaybird Live Literature

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