Leeds Poetry Festival is a new week-long festival in July showcasing incredible poetry and spoken word from our city.
We're still coming out of a really difficult, intense, isolating time where most people haven't been able to engage with the literary art as much as they would have liked to. There've been some really amazing online events, but we wanted to add to everything else that was going on and give people something to look forward to.
We also want to support all those creatives that have lost out on work and promotion as a result of the pandemic, and give them space to be able to share their writing.
I think that over the past three decades poetry has gone through a bit of an awakening. People are exploring poetry in more diverse ways. People aren’t just sticking to traditional forms of poetry; there’s more spoken world, free verse and prose poetry. It really shows how the literary world is adapting to the 21st century.
It’s becoming a form of creative outlet that is available to all types of people from diverse backgrounds, including working class and BAME backgrounds. It’s just uniting everybody through a form of art that for a long time hasn’t always been accessible or inclusive to people outside small literary communities.
Our classes and workshops will always be at a beginner and novice level; something that will be able to engage you whether or not you’ve written poetry before. We want to introduce people to poetry but also give people a place to explore it and not feel intimidated by thousands of years of a traditional style.
Our open mic nights are also there for those who want to perform at any level of experience. It’s open to everyone, with all forms of poetry and spoken word.
There will also be lots of performances by local collectives and creative groups that are based in Leeds or from Leeds; we really want to showcase how incredibly diverse and creative the city is, especially when it comes to our poetry.
We wanted to create a space for the incredible talent we have in the city to get together to share ideas, listen and perform.