It’s the second year of Leeds Poetry Festival with a week-long offer of events, mostly in real life at Left Bank and Hyde Park Book Club, but with some online action if you can’t make it in person. You can expect a series of workshops, live spoken word and poetry performances, as well as a multi-media art exhibition, ALL PAUL, which runs from 28 July until 10 August.
It’s the second year of Leeds Poetry Festival with a week-long offer of events, mostly in real life at Left Bank and Hyde Park Book Club, but with some online action if you can’t make it in person.
Leeds Poetry Festival 2022 proper gets under way on Monday 1 August with a two-hour creative writing workshop led by poet Joe Williams, a well-known face on the Leeds live lit scene and host of new night Chemistry. For five of your hard-earned pounds, Joe will introduce you to techniques for coming up with new and original ideas, and for turning them into something more substantial. The workshops continue all week, and include Poppy Jennings’ Brontë-inspired session, “invoking the wild nature of Yorkshire landscapes to form our poems” (Friday 12.30-2.30pm, £5), and NSFW Club’s magnificently named Let’s Stick Together, creating collage poetry using found objects, materials and texts (Saturday 10am-12pm, £5).
On the opening evening, the Festival’s 2022 anthology, Taking Up Space, will be launched (Monday 7-10pm, PAYF), with judges Poppy Jennings, Izzy Brittain, Simone Yasmin and Tom Sims all taking part, presenting poetry inspired by the competition theme and exploring society, the pandemic, the galaxy and beyond. Other showcases include Nymphs & Thugs Presents LIVEwire (Thursday 8-10pm, £7), featuring sets from Louise Fazackerley, Tai Ògún and Carla Mellor, hosted by Matt Abbott, Burning Eye Books (Saturday 12.30-2pm, £7), hosting a panel and Q&A with Abdullah Adekola and Jemima Foxtrot, and Bent Key Publishing (Sunday 11.15-12.45pm, £6), with founder Rebecca Kenny and a line-up of “incredible Northern voices”.
Individual writer highlights include Same Difference (Wednesday 5.30-6.30pm, £6), when Ben Wilkinson chats about tackling class, mental health and more in his poetry, which is written against the backdrop of Northern landscapes, 163 Days with Hannah Hodgson (Thursday 6.30-7.30pm, £6), discussing trauma, truth and care in her debut collection of the same name, and In Conversation with Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan (Friday 6-7pm, £6), including a reading from her collection, Postcolonial Banter, and new book, Tangled In Terror.
Open mic nights include Wednesday’s Pizza, Poetry & A Pint, which does what it says on the tin, and Saturday’s Unapologetic, when local talent shout about being loud, proud and unapologetically queer, while Tuesday’s The Collaboration is packed with collaborative performances from poets, musicians, dancers and visual artists, including Izzy Brittain, Laura Dickinson and Jamie Scrutton. The festival culminates in an end-of-year showcase, A Year In Poetry, celebrating 12 months since Leeds Poetry Festival’s inception. The festival bookshop will be open all evening too, so don’t forget to bring your pocket money.