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Yorkshire's Firm of Poets aim for 'People's Republic of Poetry'

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A Yorkshire group called A Firm of Poets are offering a poetry night with a twist as they embark on their first national tour later this month.

The group of four poets will not only be performing a mixture of spoken word pieces but are also encouraging budding poets to appear on stage for the first time. The Firm will be holding a workshop on the afternoon of the each performance on the tour, offering local poets advice and techniques on how to perfect their craft. They will then be invited to perform in front of an audience during the show that evening.

Ralph Dartford, a founding member of A Firm of Poets, said: “The Firm have been performing for a while but this is the first time we have involved the audience in this way.”

A Firm of Poets is Ralph Dartford and Matt Abbott, joined by a variety of poets during the tour, including Write Out Loud’s compere at Sale, John Darwin, Genevieve Walsh, and Matthew Stoppard, plus Kate Fox, Helen Mort, Luke Wright, Zena Edwards, Molly Naylor, Louise Fazackerley,  Martin Figura and Helen Ivory. The group say their aim is to create a “People’s Republic of Poetry” – a network of spoken word performers throughout the UK.  Work performed by the participants will also be added to an online ebook, which will grow as the tour travels around the country.

Ralph Dartford added: "This is a golden period for spoken word. With the emergence of such artists as Kate Tempest, George the Poet, Luke Wright, Hollie McNish, and also the reborn John Cooper Clarke, it appears that the nation is wonderfully engaged in rhyme and reason. We will give voice to some of the finest poets nationally, and just as important, the as yet unheard. The voices of any age, gender, race or background. We want the nation expressing themselves in word. Vive Le Republic!” 

The tour begins on 24 September at Harrogate theatre, and ends at Colchester arts centre on 2 December, taking in Bradford, Goole, Pontefract, Washington, Durham book festival, Hull, Whitby, Doncaster, London, Bury, Helmsley, Barton-upon-Humber, Leeds, Letchworth, Wakefield, Barnsley, and Norwich along the way. More details

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