logoSheffield is holding its very first Poetry Festival on the weekend of April 1-3rd, with “fringe” events in the days preceding and following.

You can find out more at: http://www.sheffieldpoetryfestival.org.uk/home.html where you can also download the full festival brochure. There are 34 events to choose from (I’m involved in a couple) including readings by Simon Armitage, George Szirtes, Geoff Hattersley, Geraldine Monk, Helen Mort, Ben Wilkinson, Chris Jones (on the Forward Prize shortlist last year), Elizabeth Barrett, Mark GoodwinMatthew Hollis, Maurice Riordan, Harriet Tarlo, local laureates Ann Atkinson and River Wolton and many local poets, less well known, but well worth hearing nevertheless.

The group I belong to, The Tuesday Poets, have a themed event “Out of Place” planned for March 29th, 7.30 at Bank Street Arts.

There are also launches of new books, an event for children, a poetry walk, a garden party, talks, social gatherings where you can meet many of the poets taking part and even a “poetry university challenge” in which notables from the two Sheffield universities show how little they really know about poetry.

It’s bound to be fun and interesting. Some of it might be exciting. If its successful, the hope is to make it a regular event, so please come along and support it.

Alongside “Exploding Poetry” Bank St is running some readings. Last week I organised a reading for students of the MA Writing from Hallam University. It went very well. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and the readings themselves were absolutely excellent.

Next week there are two readings: George Szirtes on the 4th, and on Friday the 5th, the Tuesday Poets, the writing group I belong to. There’ll be nine of us, as Seni Seneviratne is at an international poetry workshop in Egypt. If you don’t know the group, we are: Jenny Hockey, Margaret Lewis, Beverley Nadin, Cora Greenhill, Sally Goldsmith, Fay Musselwhite, Lisa Wallace, Val Binney, Noel Williams and Seni Seneviratne.

In Sheffield’s Off the Shelf 2009 our audience filled the Fusion Café. We had to turn away thirty more people. Forge Today reviewed that evening as: “a unique insight into human experience, becoming more than an evening of poetry readings but in many ways a fully formed living anthology”.  Between us we have four collections, two pamphlets, one CD, one shortlist for an Eric Gregory award, around 20 competition successes, publication in more than 60 magazines and several poems on Radio 4.

6.15 to 8.00: Friday 5th March

At: Bank Street Arts Centre

Admission Free

There’ll be some familiar works, but many new ones.

The Tuesday Poets had their first public outing on the 30th, and now have their first review, at: http://www.forgetoday.com/page1084/Review-Friday-Nightwith-The-Tuesday-Poets

It’s a really positive review, which is great for all of us, though it would’ve been nice if all the poets could’ve had a mention: every set was a strong one, so to single out any of us seems a little unfair. Nevertheless, I’m really pleased.