THIS year, thanks to funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ledbury Poetry Festival is welcoming three Canadian poets - Anne Michaels, Lorna Crozier and C R Avery.
Anne Michaels is perhaps best known for her fiction in particular Fugitive Pieces, but she is equally gifted as a poet. The Guardian says of her latest book:"There is pleasure to be had in the physical existence of Correspondences. It is heartening that publishers are willing to invest in such a painstaking, unusual, beautiful book. In an age of instant reaction, it demands contemplation." She is reading with Sujata Bhatt, who says: "When I am most deeply absorbed in writing a poem I feel that I am 'translating' images, and sounds, rhythms and an emotional 'tone' into words." Their reading is on Saturday, July 12 at 6pm and Anne Michaels is also appearing on Sunday, July 13 at 2pm in a free event at the Market Theatre (not at Burgage Hall, as listed in the brochure) sharing her inspiration, her process and much more.
Lorna Crozier is teacher and a poet who has won numerous awards, who observes about poetry that, "There’s always that slide between silence and speaking, and the friction that’s created between those two planes—what we cannot possibly say, but what we say anyway—is remarkably charged." Lorna will be at the festival on Saturday, July 5 at 6pm, with The Blue Hour of the Day, which captures a career spanning her three decades and her trademark investigations of family, spirituality, love's fierce attachments and bereavement. Joining her is Robin Robertson, with his fifth collection, Hill of Doors.
Completing the trio of Canadians is C R Avery, whose genius (according to his website!) lies in many genres - blues, hip-hop, spoken word and rock and roll. He is a one-man band, with the rare ability to sing poetic verse while beatboxing and pounding the piano and adding harmonica like a plot twist. He will be appearing as a special guest at the festival's open mic on Friday, July 11, starting at 8.30pm, and he will also be performing at the Ledbury Celebration on Sunday, July 13 from midday on Orme and Slade car park.
Events for children include the latest Harry Potter illustrator Jonny Duddle with a pirate-themed session on Saturday, July 12, and The Rat Man, a workshop and storytelling
even inspired by the curly tale of the Pied Piper on Saturday, July 5.
Music and poetry events including Moon and Meadow with Linda France and Chris Watson based on a lunar year in a walled garden and Alasdair Roberts and Mary Hampton on lyric and song. While at Hellens Manor there's a Poetry All-nighter, including an Insomnia Writing Workshop, on Saturday, July 5.
There's even wine tasting on offer this year as BBC broadcaster Peggy Reynolds and wine expert Simon Clarke guide you through the mysteries of poetry and wine.
Ledbury Poetry Festival runs from Friday, July 4 to Sunday, July 13. Download a programme from poetry-festival.co.uk or call the box office on 0845 458 1743.