Eclectic line-up for Sheffield Poetry Festival

Tramlines crowd at Devonshire Green
Tramlines crowd at Devonshire Green
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Playwrights, poets and writers are descending on Sheffield for the city’s second poetry festival, which launches this week.

The event – which begins on Friday and runs until Sunday, June 9 – aims to celebrate local, national and international talents with a range of talks and activities.

poet River Wolton during a a reading of her work at the launch of the Off the Shelf Festival of Words Sheffield at the Crucible theatre'See Story Jeni Harvey Picture by Chris Lawton'12 Sept  2011

poet River Wolton during a a reading of her work at the launch of the Off the Shelf Festival of Words Sheffield at the Crucible theatre'See Story Jeni Harvey Picture by Chris Lawton'12 Sept 2011

Dr Chris Jones, festival co-director, said: “It’s the finest poets coming from across the city and England to read and perform their work.

“Poetry is an oral media, it’s so enjoyable hearing poets read their work.”

Renowned poets Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage are among the patrons of the festival, which was held for the first time in 2011.

Dr Jones, from Crookes, a senior lecturer in creative writing at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “The first one was a success, but it’s much bigger this year, we have a bigger budget.”

Fun events include a poetry walk in Sheffield, a poetry slam competition and workshops examining the songs of Shakespeare and the world of punctuation.

A festival spokesman said: “A range of literary and educational organisations, along with local poetry groups and individual poets have got together to create a festival that is inclusive, ambitious and includes writing and writers of the highest quality.

“Together we have created an eclectic programme, something for every poetic taste, bringing some major names into the city while promoting local poets alongside them.”

“There are performance events, readings, small writers’ groups and national voices.

“The idea of community is so important in the world of poetry.

“We hope this festival shows off the many strengths of Sheffield as a poetry city.”

The festival will launch on Friday with refreshments at the Tapestry Room in Firth Hall on Western Bank from 5pm.

On Saturday, a poetry workshop is to be held at Sheffield Children’s Library from 1.30pm to 6pm.

The free event, led by David Harmer, will include poems about traditional and modern games with visitors given the chance to then make their own prose.

Former Derbyshire poet laureate River Wolton, who lived in Sheffield for 22 years before moving to the Peak District, is holding a reading with award-winning Julia Copus at The Hubs student union on Saturday, from 3pm. On Sunday, from 11am, a poetry walk will cross the land bounded by Lady’s Bridge, Kelham Island and the Wicker with Rob Hindle reading and discussing poems inspired by one-way journeys made at different points in Sheffield’s history.

A poetry slam – where contestants have a few minutes to perform their own original work to an audience – takes place on the same day at Bank Street Arts Centre in the city centre.

Celebrated poets from Sheffield’s two universities – including 44-year-old Dr Jones, will be joined by their students at Bank Street Arts Centre on Wednesday, June 5 from 6.15pm.

* For full details and a programme of events, visit Sheffield Poetry Festival

Sheffield is the host for a packed calendar of top festivals showcasing a variety of talent – with four events starting in the next three weeks alone.

As well as Sheffield Poetry Festival, which launches on Friday, B oomhill Festival, Sheffield Doc: Fest and Sheffield Children’s Festival all kick off in the next 18 days.

Other festivals lined up in the city for the rest of the year include music spectacular Tramlines over three days in mid July, Sheffield Pride on July 6, the weekend Mosborough Music Festival next month, Sheffield Food Festival in September and tribute act collaboration Sheffield Fake Festival, which takes place in Hillsborough Park on Saturday, June 22.

There are also dozens of smaller community festivals organised across the city.

Together they attract thousands of people from around the region, boosting the city economy.

We want readers to let us know about any festivals happening in their communities –


* See The Star tomorrow for a preview of Broomhill Festival.