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The Poetry Trust Stuff

September 2010

Welcome to Stuff. The Poetry Trust's latest news, events, podcasts and publications.

New Seamus Heaney podcast now on The Poetry Channel

Over 800 people relished an evening in the extraordinarily good company of Seamus Heaney at the 2010 Poetry Prom. Tickets sold out astonishingly fast and the queue started at 7am for the 20 ‘on the day’ remaining seats.

Heaney’s humanity, gentleness and wit shone during the first-half conversation with fellow-poet and Aldeburgh Poetry Festival co-founder Michael Laskey. The pair achieved the remarkable feat of creating an intimate experience for the packed and massive audience. And for the 8th successive year, the power and relevance of live poetry in the stunning Snape Maltings Concert Hall was abundantly clear. You can enjoy highlights of the conversation now in a new 15 minute podcast on The Poetry Channel.

In the second half Heaney read poems from his brand new Faber collection Human Chain, plus a memorable selection of ‘favourites’ from his outstanding body of work. Following the reading, audience members queuing for the book signing spoke of the ‘privilege’ and ‘sense of occasion’ of this ‘magical’ evening.

The Guardian is currently featuring a podcast from the Poetry Prom of Heaney reading a selection of poems from the new book.

Enjoy photos from the evening in our online gallery

The Poetry Prom is a partnership between The Poetry Trust and Aldeburgh Music

Sponsored by Fairweather Stephenson & Co



Countdown Begins!

22nd Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, 5 – 7 November

The Poetry Prom always spells the end of the summer for us. But it also signals the start of autumn and the countdown to Aldeburgh. With the box office now open, we’re delighted - and relieved, given these difficult times - that ticket sales so far are exceeding last year’s. What a heartening expression of faith in our programming.

We’re getting really excited about this year’s Festival and the usual unusual mix of events and poets - famous, established, overlooked, unknown, emerging. Where else will you find such an eclectic mix of writers - Inua Ellams, Elaine Feinstein, Bernard Kops and Andrew Motion - discussing the attractions of other literary genres (plays, novels, short stories, memoirs, biographies) and how these can affect their poetry.

And in fact the redoubtable Bernard Kops, 84 this year, fulfils our desire to celebrate under-sung veterans (Alastair Reid and Maureen Duffy being other memorable examples). Just take a look at Michael Horovitz’s recent, spot-on review


Americans at Aldeburgh

Another Festival highlight is always the introduction of outstanding American poets. This November Marie Howe and Dorianne Laux - both highly acclaimed in the USA - will make their UK debuts on the East Suffolk coast. According to Margaret Atwood, “Marie Howe’s poetry doesn’t fool around.” Rooted in the everyday - newspaper headlines, automated phone systems, the Discovery Channel - “her poems are intensely felt, sparely expressed, and difficult to forget.” Dorianne Laux cites her inspirations as Philip Levine, Sharon Olds and C K Williams and says she writes ‘hot-blooded’ poems that deal with the ‘gristle of living.’ Both writers will be wonderfully in evidence throughout the Aldeburgh weekend - in workshops, craft talks and discussions as well as readings.

Dorianne Laux, main reading - Saturday 6 November
Marie Howe, main reading - Sunday 7 November
Read Dorianne Laux’s poem Democracy
Read Marie Howe’s poem Hurry



Young Talent at Aldeburgh

A trio of talented young writers read on the Saturday of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. Caroline Bird‘s poetry starkly redefines gender politics and the languages with which generations communicate. Her first collection published by Carcanet when she was just 15 years old was described as ‘an astonishingly assured piece of work’ by Ruth Padel in The Financial Times. Luke Kennard is the youngest poet ever to have been shortlisted for the Forward Prize. His poetry is characterised by an abundant inventiveness of subject, tone and style. Faber New Poet Jack Underwood writes with authenticity and heart, he sees poems as questions, as a process of learning about the world, rather than ‘spewing it back into peoples’ laps’.

Reading: New Blood, Saturday 6 November 2010
Supported by the Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation

We’ll be giving you the lowdown on more wonderful Festival poets next month. Or beat us to it by downloading the full programme for yourself.



Become a ‘Corporate Friend’ of The Poetry Trust

Each year Corporate Friends of The Poetry Trust are invited to celebrate the Festival launch at a drinks reception and Exhibition Preview in Aldeburgh on the eve of the Festival weekend. All Corporate Friends are also prominently acknowledged and thanked on print material and on The Poetry Trust website (with a year-round web link). The cost of annual subscription is just £55, Corporate Friends make a real difference to ensuring the success of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and the Trust’s year round programme of activity. To enquire about our Corporate Friends scheme contact Katie Burroughs on 01986 835950 or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)



Short Cuts Cabaret and Open Mic Night

The Cut, Halesworth, Friday 17 September 7.30pm

The theme of Short Cuts - our cult status variety show - this September is ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ as we welcome special guest Jude Simpson. Witty, charming and a brilliant stand-up poet, she promises a recession-busting guide to happiness. As always the evening will offer a heady mix of comedy, music, spoken word and live poetry along with the usual unabashed Open Mic talent. Will everything be all right on the night? Join us in September to find out. Matchless entertainment guaranteed whatever!

To apply for a performance slot (3 minutes), contact Dean on 01986 835950 or at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Tickets cost £5, Call The Cut Box office on 0845 6732123

Supported by The Co-op Community Fund



New term at The Poetry School

The Poetry School’s new term starts next month, offering dozens of courses, workshops, seminars and tutorials all round the country and online.

Writing activities are pitched at levels for beginner, intermediate or advanced writers, and all are taught by expert poet-tutors - everything from a 30 week course of structured studies to a short burst of downloadable inspiration.

DS, a Poetry School student from Newcastle, writes ... I find it hard to measure just how significant the Polly Clark’s Poetry in Progress course and the workshops with Don Paterson and Peter Bennet have been to my development as a writer; without the input of these courses/workshops I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable describing myself as a poet.

The Poetry School is the only national organisation to focus solely on teaching the art of writing poetry. Visit its (fancy, new) website and browse for courses.

For a printed programme, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 0207 582 1679



John Hegley - The Adventures of Monsieur Robinet

The Cut, Halesworth, 19 October 2010

Britain’s favourite comic-poet John Hegley comes to Suffolk as part of the Halesworth Arts Festival. In The Adventures of Monsieur Robinet, Hegley regales tales about a Frenchman with some unusual (but clean) habits, which include
burying his dog’s kennel and his own luggage pieces.

Halesworth Arts Festival
Friday 19th October. 7.30pm. £ 14.50

Festival Box Office 01986 874264 or online at



Escalator Literature writing prize – Autumn 2010

Writers’ Centre Norwich will launch this year’s unique writing prize in autumn 2010.

Prize winners will enjoy a year-long programme of support with their writing; mentoring from established poets; a summer school residential based at the UEA and support in making an Arts Council England Grants for the Arts bid.

The prize is open to poets yet to publish a first collection, and for the first time the Escalator Literature prize will be open to applicants from all parts of England.


Sign-up for further details at:



Aldeburgh Music Event

BRAINWAVES Another thought-provoking Faster Than Sound event comes to the Hoffmann Building at Snape: on Saturday 18 September, composers Mira Calix and Anna Meredith explore the rich world of the brain. They are joined by Loop.pH who will create a reactive installation around this theme. For more information and to book visit:



Other STUFF you might enjoy:

Matt Harvey’s second collection published Wimbledon Poet extraordinaire publishes his second collection WHERE EARWIGS DARE (Greenbooks) on 16 September

Café Writers Roger Robinson and Caroline Gilfillan, 13 Sep, Norwich

Ian McMillan - An autobiography in poetry, 23 Sep, £12/6 concession - during The Beccles Festival 2010

Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition 2010 Closing date 15 October

Birmingham Book Festival 5 - 21 October, including contributions from Pascale Petit and Jackie Kay

Dylan Thomas Festival - “A Home from Home for the Thomases” 27 October - 9 November, with contributions from Andrew Motion, Jo Shapcott and others, Swansea

The 2010 Book & Pamphlet Competition The Poetry Business is now inviting entries for its 24th Book & Pamphlet Competition, deadline 29 November

Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry 2010


“I'm looking for poems that leave me speechless. Breathless. Slayed. My spell check says there’s no such word as slayed. And this is what I mean. I’m less interested in the right way than the only way.”

Dorianne Laux


Poetry Trust events coming up