Over the next six months some of the world’s finest poets will be making their way to Grasmere in Cumbria to take part in the Wordsworth Trust’s 2009 poetry programme, which is recognised as one of the finest in the country.
Simon Armitage, one of the forerunners for the next Poet Laureate and a regular in the Grasmere programme, sees it as, “An annual event in my poetic calendar, in one of poetry's spiritual heartlands.”
Audiences recognise the special nature of this programme, and travel considerable distances to hear poets read their own work in the heart of Wordsworth Country.
To accommodate the growing popularity of the programme, readings will take place at St Oswald’s Church in Grasmere, a beautiful thirteenth century building, close to the final resting place of William Wordsworth and his family.
The 2009 programme has an international flavour, with some major poets making rare visits to the UK.
* Lithuanian poet Tomas Venclova, a close friend of Anna Akhmatova and Boris Pasternak, read his poems about hope in the aftermath of totalitarianism, with his translator, American poet Ellen Hinsey.
* Acclaimed New Zealand poet and novelist C K Stead also made a rare visit to Grasmere with his poems that feed on both classical forms and playful experiment.
* Poetry in Grasmere also played host for the first time to Carol Ann Duffy, one of Britain’s most popular poets and the first female poet laureate, with her beautiful love poems and her sharp, cutting humour.
As well as major names, the Trust is proud to continue its history of giving space to younger writers who will be the major poets of the future, as well as talented and distinctive voices who just deserve a wider audience. Jen Hadfield, the surprise winner of the 2009 TS Eliot prize, pays her first visit to Grasmere, and there’s a chance to see Cumbrian poets Josephine Dickinson and Jeremy Over.
Literature Officer Andrew Forster says: “There’s something unique about the Wordsworth Trust poetry readings programme. Grasmere is a special place for poets and it’s a hugely memorable experience to hear the world’s finest poets read here. We are really excited about this year’s programme.”
Bookings can be made by telephoning 015394 35544, or by visiting the online shop at http://www.golakes.co.uk/.
The complete programme follows below. More information is available at www.wordsworth.org.uk/events
16th June: Fred D’Aguiar & Kei Miller
30th June: George Szirtes & Jen Hadfield
14th July: Simon Armitage
28th July: Ruth Padel & Tom Pow
11th August: Michael Symmons Roberts & Peter Bennett
25th August: Josephine Dickinson & Jeremy Over
8th September: Imtiaz Dharker & Emma Jones
22nd September: Don Paterson & Kate Rhodes
6th October: Hugo Williams & Joanne Limburg