Poetry in Stratford-upon-Avon: a festival and a competition!

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From 17th -24th June The Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival returns for the 65th year with a poignant and diverse programme commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War, with poetry and readings reflecting the ongoing need for peace and reconciliation – in the world, and in ourselves.

The festival opens with recitals by Christopher Eccleston and Niamh Cusack, who present an evening of poetry inspired by the final words printed in the First Folio of Shakespeare’s works (Cymbeline), “Washed with such a Peace”. The programme also features old favourites as well as lesser-known works, and explores how peace can be found in different aspects of our life experience (childhood, the natural world, relationships, outlook.

Other festival highlights include an evening with Tony Harrison, one of the most distinguished poets of his generation, Tony’s poetry has changed the entire landscape of British poetry.  The poems that made Wilfred Owen famous, and some of his remarkable letters, will be presented in a programme devised especially for the festival by poetry expert Roger Pringle, and Ruth Silers reads ‘War Girls’ – a compilation celebrating the remarkable, often deeply moving and largely unsung experiences of women in the First World War.

Dr. Paul Edmondson, Poetry Festival Artistic Director and Head of Research at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said, “Poetry continues to provide peace in our broken world. We’re also marking the centenary of the death of the First World War poet, the great Wilfred Owen, so peace and reconciliation are very much the golden threads through from that time to ours: a gold we need constantly to mine, and for which we will always long.”

The Festival poetry competition is also now open for entries.  Writers of all ages are invited to honour the end of the First World War with poems on the theme of Peace and Reconciliation. Entries must be no longer than 200 words and should fit on a single side of A4 paper. Please send entries to competitions@Shakespeare.org.uk Closing date 28th May 2018. Supported by Stratforward BID, the winning entry will receive £300 cash prize, and up to 10 runners-up will have their poems displayed in selected shop windows in Stratford-upon-Avon.


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