Ledbury Poetry Competition 2023 announced

Ledbury Poetry Competition is open for entries from May 15 – July 10 2023

Chloe Garner, Director, encourages poets to enter their work: “Ledbury Poetry Competition has pushed many poets onwards, towards more poems, a collection and beyond. So enter now and give your work a chance!”

The judge this year will be Philip Gross. Philip has published 27 collections, for adults and for young people, over 40 years of publication. He won the T.S. Eliot in 2009, a Cholmondeley Award in 2017, and is a keen collaborator, e.g. with Lesley Saunders on A Part of the Main (Mulfran, 2018), with scientists on the young people’s collection Dark Sky Park (Otter-Barry, 2018) and with artist Valerie Coffin Price and Welsh-language poet Cyril Jones on Troeon/Turnings (Seren, 2021). His latest, The Thirteenth Angel (Bloodaxe, 2022), a PBS Recommendation, was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.

Philip Gross: “What I’ll be looking for…? Poems that aren’t whatever I might think I’m looking for. Poems intent on being wholly, intensely themselves, regardless of what a judge, the zeitgeist or even their author might want them to be. Poems that have to be poems because they couldn’t be expressed in any other way.”

The first prize for the competition is £1,000 cash and, in our on-going partnership with Arvon, a week’s poetry course. Second Prize is £500 and third prize is £250. All winners are invited to read at Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2024.

The competition is international, open to poets writing in the English language. You must be 18 years of age or over to enter. All terms and conditions and details of how to enter can be found online https://ledburypoetry.org.uk/home/ledbury-poetry-competition-2023/

Ledbury Poetry Festival runs June 30 – July 9. Available now at https://ledburypoetry.org.uk/home/whats-on/

Award-winning poets, international voices, family favourites, workshops and world classics, rounded-off with music and dance. Live and online, everyone is welcome to create and celebrate this summer.

New this year is Guest Curator, Stephanie Sy-Quia.

Ledbury Poetry Festival is delighted to announce Don Paterson as Poet in Residence.

Among the award winning poets are:

Simon Armitage, the Poet Laureate, plays with his band LYR. His new collection of lyrics Never Good with Horses is out this spring.

Joseph Coelho, the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, opens the Festival with an event for Schools, and entertains family audiences at the weekend. Inspired by magic and the ancient world, Joseph explores fear, courage, diversity, empathy and gratitude. His award-winning work includes Overheard in a Tower Block and The Girl Who Became a Tree.

Maya C Popa, Romanian-American writer, academic and editor whose latest book has been rapturously received, Wound is the Origin of Wonder.

Joelle Taylor, T.S. Eliot prize-winning poet for her collection C+nto, judged the Ledbury Poetry Competition in 2022 and hosts the winners at the Festival, as well as headlining a performance sure to inspire. She is a myth maker, risk taker and poetical activist.

Guest Curator Stephanie Sy_Quia’s programme includes new commissions, invigorating themes and explorations:

Stephanie Sy-Quia and Sarala Estruch, both Ledbury Poetry Critics (see below in notes to editors), explore their debut collections, Amnion and After All We Have Travelled probing the modes of writing about family with all its anxieties and joys.

Stans and Mystics asks what subject links rapture, chronic illness and celebrity culture and believe the answer is medieval mysticism. Abi Palmer looks to St Teresa of Avila in Sanatorium and Naomi Morris looks at Julian of Norwich. Both suggest these mystics have a lot to teach us now – fandom, being a little too online and ecstasy.

In Artistic Obsessions, Amy Key looks at Joni Mitchell in Arrangements in Blue and Tom De Freston’s Wreck is a multi layered work inspired by Gericault’s The Wreck of Medusa.

And leading into the weekend Stephanie Sy-Quia acts as poetry sommelier as wine and poetry are paired at a Poetry Tasting event hosted at Hay Wines.

Ledbury Poetry is thrilled that Don Paterson will be joining as poet in residence:

Michael Morpurgo presents his new anthology, out in June, My Heart was a Tree. Inspired by the poem by Ted Hughes which gives his book its name.

Monty Don will present his favourite poems about the gardens and nature.

Zaffar Kunial explores the pastoral in England’s Green, reprising many themes from his T.S.Eliot prize shortlisted collection Us.

Nina Mingya Powles and Alycia Pirmohamed have written about their relationship to water which coalesce in bright and unexpected ways. Join them at the wild swimming pool, to swim, and hear them read and talk about their work.

Everyone is welcome to join the Festival live in beautiful Ledbury. Events are at historic venues, the community hall, the market theatre, the walled garden, the wild swimming pond and the local wine shop... And at the weekends there will be Poetry Passeggiata events in the sunny Churchyard where you can hear new work from poets featured over the weekend with an aperitivo in the early evenings.

Chloe Garner, Director, says: “Ledbury Poetry is inclusive and nurturing and these values are embodied in the Ledbury Poetry Critics’s programme where huge strides are being made to ensure diversity in poetry criticism. It is in this context that I am proud to welcome Ledbury Poetry Festival’s first ever Guest Curator, Stephanie Sy-Quia, a Ledbury Poetry Critic who won the 2022 Forward Prize for Best First Collection with Amnion.”