Mike Garry live online at Didsbury Arts Festival

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Poet Mike Garry. Photo Paul Wolfgang Webster
Poet Mike Garry. Photo Paul Wolfgang Webster.

Mike Garry live online at Didsbury Arts Festival, 1 July 2021, free entry - Visit now

Manchester poet Mike Garry will be performing live online as part of Didsbury Arts Festival 2021, this year taking place virtually, with an audience Q&A part of the event. Having previously lived in Didsbury for 20 years, Mike Garry is a great choice for the biennial event, bringing arts to south Manchester this year as a series of monthly events from May through to September.

Fresh from the inaugural Festival Of Libraries – appearing at the Portico Library alongside fellow former librarian and spoken word artist Shirley May to talk about how libraries are a cornerstone to fostering creativity (other library champions include Guy Garvey and Stuart Maconie) – Mike Garry is the July headliner for Didsbury Arts Festival, celebrating summer with a series of unmissable, monthly arts highlights brought to you live online.

‘St Anthony: An Ode to Anthony H Wilson’, Mike Garry’s poem dedicated to the late Factory Records boss, was put to classical music by the composer Joe Duddell and went to number one.

Often performing in unusual venues, from local libraries and pubs to youth clubs and schools, prisons and young offenders units, children’s homes and mental health units, Mike Garry tells us he might be doing his DAF reading from backstage at a gig: “I have toured with John Cooper Clarke for 10 years and the night of the reading, and if Covid rules are OK, I shall be reading from my dressing room at Ilkley King’s Hall.” His poetry – described as “both gritty and beautiful, married to a charismatic performance style” and “passionate swirling rhythms of thoughts and emotions converted to monologues of quick fire words” – is well known and he regularly supports punk poet John Cooper Clarke, and has opened for bands like I Am Kloot, Badly Drawn Boy and The Fall, and collaborated with New Order, Northern Chamber Orchestra and Philip Glass.

His four books – Men’s Morning, Mancunian Meander, God Is A Manc and Men’s Mourning – have received wide critical acclaim and are regularly read on TV and radio, and in schools throughout the UK. Mike’s poetry, which he says “focuses on the city and its people, championing the underdog and finding beauty amongst the ugliness and triumph amongst tragedy”, enjoys an international audience, and he has appeared at literature festivals around the world. He was Poet in Residence at Strangeways Prison, and has worked with the BBC, The Barclays Premier League, Manchester United, Manchester Museum of Science & Industry and Manchester Art Gallery.

‘St Anthony: An Ode to Anthony H Wilson’, Mike Garry’s poem dedicated to the late Factory Records boss, was put to classical music by the composer Joe Duddell and went to number one in three official UK charts in August 2015, with the video (featuring Steve Coogan, Iggy Pop, Bernard Sumner and many more) viewed by over one million people in its first month of release. He’s even written a tribute to the Arndale, to celebrate the shopping centre’s 40th anniversary in 2019.

Currently an Associate Fellow and Artist in Residence at the University of Westminster in London, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Manchester Metropolitan University for his ground-breaking work with poetry in education (he already has a degree in Library and Information Studies from the institution). He is currently working with the Cassia String Quartet on Mogador, an opera based on a north African fishing village.

So far in 2021, Didsbury Arts Festival has been on a virtual studio tour with visual artist Clae Eastgate – Carol Ann Duffy and Jackie Kay were among her Painting the Poets series – and welcomed rising star in the UK spoken word scene Afshan D’souza-Lodhi, reading from her debut poetry collection re: desire. Upcoming, DAF director Lucy Dusgate talks to UK collector Stephen Josland (1 August, 3pm) about the rich and varied history of comic art, in particular the original Marvel comics, and to sound and electronic media artist Vicky Clarke (1 September, 7pm), who will be performing live a new commission, created through her machine learning residency with NOVARS (University of Manchester) in collaboration with PRiSM (RNCM). See the DAF website for more. And save the date – planning is under way for the next full festival in 2022.

Mike Garry live online at Didsbury Arts Festival

1 July 2021 7:00 pm
Free entry