The UK’s biggest poetry festival returned to Ledbury this month with its first full programme of events since before the pandemic.

Ledbury Poetry Festival 2022 saw a packed 10-day programme of events bringing back the festival after the covid years, to the warmth and gratitude of Ledbury audiences.

Poet laureate Simon Armitage was among the big names speaking at live events, many of which were also live-streamed around the world.

This hybrid festival celebrated being together again in-person while maintaining the wide, and international, reach that online events have achieved in recent years. 

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Chloe Garner, the festival’s artistic director, said it was exciting to return to a full festival programme and to celebrate coming together, while taking time to reflect on the experiences of the past two years.

“Poetry is perfect for all of this,” she said.

New this year was the Ledbury Poetry House Bookshop in The Barrett Browning Institute, where the festival is now based.

Ukrainian poet appears over live-stream at Ledbury Poetry Festival

The bookshop acted as a hub throughout the festival and still has a number of signed copies of books by festival poets.

Festival evenings saw performances and celebrations from Hollie McNish and Michael Pedersen, Steve Camden (aka Polarbear), Brian Bilston, Jasmine Gardosi, Anthony Joseph, Harry Baker and Gecko, John Hegley and Alistair McGowan.

Michael Rosen talked about his experience of Covid, reading excerpts from his book ‘Many Different Kinds of Love: A story of Life, Death and the NHS’.

And Ukrainian poet Irina Tsilyk appeared on stage in Ledbury via live stream from her car in a forest near the front line in Ukraine. 

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Poetry and the complexity of translation was explored with poets and translators from Holland, Algiers, Poland, Algiers while writing from Sri Lanka and Somalia were shared.

New York poets Nicole Sealey, John Morillo, Deborah Landau and Alex Dimitriov and The New Yorker Poetry editor Kevin Young shared work over the first weekend.

In a new partnership with Malvern Hills AONB, Ledbury Poetry programmed a series of walks each day with poets exploring the natural world including Catherine Swire, Prof Fiona Stafford and Peter Sutton.

This theme was explored on stage with Jason Allen-Paisant and Sarah Hymas.