A POPULAR poetry festival will take place online this year.

Organisers of the annual Ledbury Poetry Festival are determined coronavirus will not stop the event.

Festival artistic director, Chloe Garner, said: “I have been running online poetry salons during lockdown, and the audience has included people from America, India and Zimbabwe.

“Distance is no longer a barrier as online events enable people around the world to gather together and that has been a consolation in these difficult times.

“Ledbury Poetry Festival online explores the many ways that poetry matters in these times, as a creative expression, offering an opportunity for reflection, insight, solace and inspiration, sparking conversation and speaking to culture and politics in the present moment.”

Chloe wants to stress it is not a version of the festival that was planned for a physical space but instead it is a small and specially curated selection of events that reflect our current times and speak to what is happening in the world now, from Covid-19, to lockdown, to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The festival will launch with the UK Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, followed by events featuring poets from America, including the Forward Prize winning Danez Smith, Eritrea, Georgia, Iceland, Italy, a Poetry Translation Duel.

Kim Moore will host Versopolis, an event celebrating emerging European poets and Raymond Antrobus will chat with Robin Coste Lewis, a poet whose work has particularly inspired him.

The festival will take place over the weekend of July 4 and 5. and the online weekend will follow a preview programme on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb on Friday, July 3, hosted by Ian McMillan.

Chloe added that this is an opportunity for anyone who has enjoyed Ledbury Poetry Festival in its previous guise to gather together as well as first-timers.

All the events are free “in the spirit of fellowship with poets, poetry and the poetry community in these challenging times, so that income is no barrier to joining these vital happenings.” - but donations are welcome.

Visit: poetry-festival.co.uk/festival-online-programme-register-for-events/