Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts

Newcastle Poetry Festival

Newcastle Poetry Festival

The Newcastle Poetry Festival was established in 2015 by Professor Linda Anderson of the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts (NCLA). The aim of the poetry festival has been to bring international and UK-based poets, as well as exhibitions, musical collaborations, films and artworks, to Newcastle.

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The 2015 festival was the culmination of The Poetics of the Archive, a project exploring the Bloodaxe Archive, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The festival featured readings from international poets including Mark Doty, Susan Stewart, Sujata Bhatt, Michael Longley and Kei Miller amongst others.

In 2016, the NCLA hosted Newcastle Poetry Festival and the programme included art commissions at the Ex Libris Gallery, panels on Poetry and Urban Regeneration as well as workshops led by Sarah Howe and Kayo Chingonyi. There were also readings from a selection of esteemed poets from the USA: Don Share, Stephen Burt, Carolyn Forché and Matthew Dickman. Poets who also appeared at the festival included Vahni Capildeo, Mark Waldron, Fleur Adcock, Colette Bryce, Caitriona O’Reilly, Sarah Howe and Kayo Chingonyi, amongst many others.

The third annual Newcastle Poetry Festival ran from 9-13 May 2017 and was generously funded by Arts Council England, the Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, Newcastle Institute for Creative Arts Practice and also had partnerships with Inpress Books, Poetry book Society and The Poetry School, amongst others. 

The theme “In Time” had much to say about politics, the environment, race, language and technology. The festival began with the Northern Poetry Symposium and a mix of editors, publishers and poets engaged in a series of panels which debated the role of poetry in today’s society.

The festival also launched the innovative Steps in Time App: a mobile phone app which used specially commissioned poems as a guide to orient oneself around the city’s different landmarks.

The festival consisted of a mix of events: musical collaborations, workshops, readings and panel discussions on the topics of translation, international politics and the craft of writing.

One highlight included the Music and Poetry Programme which featured the collaborations of poets, composers, musicians and the Royal Northern Symposium, specifically Sean O’Brien’s and Agustín Fernandez’s Notes from Underground,  Peter Wiegold and Jo Shapcott’s Les Roses, Jackie Kay and Kathryn Tickell’s Margaret’s Moon and Jacob Polley’s musical rendition of his T.S. Eliot Prize winning collection Jackself with musican John Alder.

The Festival has an international outlook with its partnership with the Georgetown University’s Lannan Centre for Poetics and Social Practice and welcomed American poets Carolyn Forché, Patricia Smith and Jericho Brown, who closed the festival with a powerful reading.

The festival also hosted an array of UK’s prizewinning poets, including Sinéad Morrissey, David Harsent, Alice Oswald and Gillian Allnutt.

Visit the Newcastle Poetry Festival site for more information about the festival.