Festival Update

We can’t quite believe that there are less than three weeks to go until this year’s festival.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that Pauline and I were collapsing in a little heap after the first festival.  Preparations have been forging onward since I last blogged.  Our official Young Blogger-in-Residence, Hannah Hodgson has been busy interviewing some of our Festival Poets.  Each interview is followed by a poem by the poet.  You can find Hannah’s latest interview with William Letford here, but there are also interviews with Linda Gregerson, Kathryn Maris, Katrina Naomi and Chrissy Williams.  There’s even an interview with myself and Pauline about the process of putting together a festival here.

I’ve been busy working with my Dove Cottage Young Poets group.  Five of our seven members who read at last year’s festival went off to university, so this year we’ve been recruiting new members.  There are now nine Dove Cottage Young Poets who come from different secondary schools and sixth forms in and around Kendal.

Part of our funding bid was to have the group work with the poet Katie Hale on a ‘guerilla poetry mission’.  A couple of weeks ago Katie led a workshop with the young poets to create some poems to put on postcards, and next Wednesday we’ll be heading into Kendal town centre to give free poems to the residents of Kendal.   On one side will be a poem written by one of the Young Poets, and on the other side will be an advert for Kendal Poetry Festival.  The idea behind this is to get poetry to people that might not necessarily go looking for it, so I will let you know how that goes!

Ticket sales are going really well – workshops are sold out, apart from a few places left on Chrissy Williams’ workshop.  Chrissy will be leading a workshop in Abbot Hall Art Gallery, so as well as a chance to do some writing, this is also an opportunity to look around the Julian Turner exhibition.

We have between ten and fifteen tickets left for each of our Main Readings and we would LOVE it to be a sell out again this year, so if you’ve been holding back from buying your tickets, you could make us very happy by splashing out! There are only 12 free tickets left for the Jack Mapanje event so I would definitely book that sooner rather than later.

I also wanted to draw your attention to the ‘Tuning In‘ event with Martin Kratz.  On the feedback forms last year, people loved the ‘Tuning In’ event, which is basically a whistle-stop tour of the poets appearing at the festival.  If you can’t go to everything, then it’s a great way of getting a flavour of what’s happening throughout the weekend.   I’ve been working with Martin for the last year at Manchester Metropolitan University, and he is one of my favourite people to talk to about poetry, and I know this will be one of the discussions at the festival that will be really interesting.  He’s already told me about some fascinating connections he is drawing between the poets appearing at the festival.  ‘Tuning In’ is happening just before the launch of the festival, so you can go to that, and then come and get a free glass of wine!


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