Cheltenham Poetry Festival – 10th Birthday 16-25 April, 2020


It’s a great festival, packed with talent; exciting, edgy and unmissable.

Check out events and book tickets here

I’ve gone ‘Wild’ and booked early for some events/workshops. More nearer the time.

  • First event is the launch of Festival Director Anna Saunders‘ new collection Feverfew from Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd

  • Festival Director Anna Saunders and Charlie Baylis

    Anna is also a workshop leader and excellent poet. She champions both established and new poets. I’ve benefited from her workshops and had several poems published as a result. She’s lauded as:

‘a poet of quite remarkable gifts’
Bernard O’Donoghue

Anna’s reading with Charlie Baylis who is a Pushcart Prize and Forward Prize nominee and Poetry Editor of Review 31 and Assistant Editor of Broken Sleep Books.

  • Next event I’ve booked is the ‘Indi-Go Wild Showcase from Indigo Dreams’
    Ronnie Goodyer  &  Dawn Bauling
    Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd eds. 

‘Indigo Dreams is an award-winning publisher renowned for beautifully produced poetry collections from new and established writers. Join us for one of the legendary (and usually sell-out) Indigo Showcases, featuring four exciting poets’

It will feature: co-director Ronnie Goodyer , co-director Dawn Bauling, Louisa Adjoa Parker and Jenny Mitchell.

I have read many of their poets and enjoy their work and the IDP readings.

  • Angela France and Penelope Shuttle 

    Angela France                                    Penelope Shuttle

Dr. Angela France – is senior lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire and widely-published poet. Her recent collection The Hill  is published by Nine Arches Press. (This is an excellent press). She’s an brilliant tutor and I’ve attended her workshops and will be pleased to rejoin them this year.

Penelope Shuttle – is a multi-award winning poet and novelist – Eric Gregory Award, Greenwood Poetry Prize, Cholmondley Award and Shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize. I am very excited to hear her read!

  • ‘An Evening with Carol Ann Duffy and Friends’ 

    Carol Ann Duffy – U.K. Poet Laureate (2009-2019)Carol Ann was a U.K. Poet Laureate and is Professor and Creative Director of the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Writing School. I enjoy her work and have seen her read before but it’s always excellent.

    She’ll be reading with poets that I haven’t seen before: writer and poet, Keith Hutson, poet, writer and playwright Mark Pajak and award-winning poet Ella Duffy. So I’m excited to hear all three.

  • ‘Dear Dylan – A Tribute to Dylan Thomas with Special Guests Hannah Ellis and Roy McFarlane’ 

    I’m really looking forward to this event, especially as the great poet Dylan Thomas’ granddaughter Hannah Ellis will be:

‘offering a very personal insight into the life, soul and creative genius of this much-loved poet’.

Hannah Ellis, granddaughter of Dylan Thomas.

Hannah will be talking about her favourite of her grandfather’s poems, as will the Indigo Dreams Press poet, Roy McFarlane.

Roy McFarlane

I’ve also booked for two exciting poetry workshops –

Graham Burchill and Rosie Jackson Workshop: Beyond the Frame

Rosie Jackson                        Graham Burchill

This will be a workshop based on art so I presume will involve writing ekphrastic poetry. I enjoy using prompts such as this, so it should be really good.

Carrie Etter Workshop – Where Are You From? Selfhood, Place and Prose Poetry.

Carrie Etter

I’ve read Carrie’s collection Imagined Sons and loved it and I saw her read it at an earlier CPF. I’m very interested to work with her and also to learn more about Prose Poetry.

SO! I have a wonderful time coming up this April and I know I’ll be tempted by more events. Will feed back after then.

Happy Writing All

person holding orange pen
Photo by fotografierende on

Favourite New Year Poems

Sparkly Isla says ‘Happy New Year’!



Well Isla and I have been thinking about new year’s poems and we like this   –

December 31st


All my undone actions wander
naked across the calendar,

a band of skinny hunter-gatherers,
blown snow scattered here and there,

stumbling toward a future
folded in the New Year I secure

with a pushpin: January’s picture
a painting from the 17th century,

a still life: Skull and mirror,
spilled coin purse and a flower.

I love this poem. With it’s personification of Hoffman’s future actions as a ‘band of skinny hunter-gatherers/ blown snow scattered here and there’ as they stumble towards whatever the new year holds. Genius.

It might seem a bit morbid to talk of death in a new year’s poem! I think it’s more about beginnings and endings.

A Momento Mori
Still Life with Skull by Phillipe de Campaigne

I also like his reference to the 17th Century art of Vanitas and Momento Mori which are a reminder of our mortality but also here, a reference to the dying year. To me, it’s a reminder that a new year brings an opportunity for change – to review our actions in the knowledge that our time is limited.

He also displays a mirror, a spilled coin purse and a flower. There’ll be other, likely better, interpretations but I imagine the mirror as an invitation to look at ourselves honestly. The flower alongside the skull is literally death and life co-existing as part of the same cycle.  It could also be viewed as new life, or hope of a future and well the spilled money? Not sure but maybe a suggestion that it can’t buy immortality or maybe a suggestion not be wasteful, or to share it perhaps! Maybe you’ll know … or maybe all interpretations are valid.

I’m interested to know of more favourite ‘new year’ poems … 

Happy New Decade one and all!

May it bring greater peace and understanding 💕