Poetry festival returns with reconnection at its heart

April 03 2021
Poetry festival returns with reconnection at its heart

A poetry festival, featuring Windmill Hill resident Beth Calverley as Festival Poet, is set to return this month, but in digital format.

Lyra - Bristol Poetry Festival has been able to go ahead after receiving funding from Arts Council England and will take place from April 14 to 25.

Themed around reconnection, the festival will include readings, writing workshops, panel discussions, a lecture, a film screening, and a poetry slam, and will feature local, national and international poets, such as Dizraeli, Malika Booker, Phil Kaye, Travis Alabanza, Caroline Bird, Edson Burton, Vanessa Kisuule, Will Harris, Bristol’s City Poet Caleb Parkin, and many more.

Almost half of the events are free to watch on Crowdcast, with workshops being held on Zoom.

Beth Calverley, who is the founder of The Poetry Machine - where Beth works with people to put their thoughts and feelings into poetry - is this year's festival poet.

Beth has a long track record of using her poetry to address vulnerability and loneliness and, over the past year, has been able to bring help and comfort to others.

She will engage in further outreach work throughout April with Bristol’s local community groups, writing in response to their local parks and green spaces.

There will also be a public call-out for poems about local parks and green spaces, so be sure to follow Lyra’s social media platforms to stay updated.

Co-directors of Lyra, Dr Lucy English and Danny ‘Craft-D’ Pandolfi, said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer this digital festival at this particular time. Many people have missed that feeling of sharing in the enjoyment of live art, but at the same time the influx of digital events has, in many ways, connected us more so than ever before.

“It has also made live poetry accessible to those who once faced barriers to this experience, and accessibility, inclusivity and representation are at the heart of what we believe poetry should be about.

“This year’s festival theme is Reconnection, exploring ideas of community, collaboration and inclusion, as we find ways to reconnect to each other, to our shared histories, our local communities and our environment.

“Lyra aims to present and promote poetry in as many formats as possible, and this year’s programme of 16 events includes live readings, spoken word, poetry slams, writing workshops, panel discussions and a film screening, as well as a special workshop exclusively for NHS workers.”

For more information about Lyra Festival 2021, visit: www.lyrafest.com.

You can also follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @lyrabristol.

Photo: Windmill Hill poet and founder of The Poetry Machine Beth Calverley is Lyra's Festival Poet for 2021. Photo by Tamsin Elliott