Leontia Flynn at The Winchester Poetry Festival

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Winchester celebrates National Poetry Day and the launch of the third Winchester Poetry Festival with a specially commissioned poem by the award-winning Irish writer Leontia Flynn (pictured).  Artistic co-director Sasha Dugdale said: "We invited Leontia Flynn to write a commissioned poem for the Festival and she has come up with a fantastic piece for us."

Flynn will be reading her new poem and other work at the Festival during the evening of Friday 5 October, where she is showcased with Paul Batchelor and Gillian Clarke, all three strikingly lyrical poets, whose taut and intelligent poetry wrestles with the interior life.

The opening lines of Flynn's new poem,

'This house believes

that poetry is pointless.'

are particularly relevant, as the poem's debut coincides with National Poetry Day. This year's National Poetry Day has 'change' as its theme and Flynn's work often questions how individuals can forge a place for themselves in the wider world.

Also for 2018, Sophie Herxheimer has been appointed as the Festival's artist/poet-in-residence, based at Winchester's Discovery Centre. Sophie will also perform a short set before the final event of the Winchester Poetry Festival. Those who've booked for Holly McNish at 6.00pm may want to come early, grab a glass of wine and enjoy some more brilliant poetry for free at 5.30pm.  Sophie will read from Times Poetry Book of 2017 Velkom to Inklandt, a series of poignant, wise and funny poems written phonetically in her grandmother's German-Jewish voice, and her new collaborative book (with Chris McCabe) The Practical Visionary, poems responding to William Blake.  

Sophie has also been working with the students at Treloar's School (a school for physically disabled young people in nearby Alton) and their work will be showcased at the Festival

Winchester is fast becoming an important poetry fixture, one of the UK's largest dedicated poetry festivals, with a wrap-around programme of workshops, close readings and public engagement. This year's Winchester Poetry Festival takes place from Friday October 5 to Sunday October 7, based at Winchester Discovery Centre. Featured poets also include Vahni Capildeo, J O Morgan, Ishion Hutchison, Ian McMillan, Holly McNish, Luke Kennard, Caroline Bird and Kathleen Jamie.  More info is available at www.winchesterpoetryfestival.org

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