Peter Finch is one of Britain’s leading poets. His blending of the avant-garde, concrete, visual, sound, performance and more conventional forms has placed him at the cutting edge of contemporary poetry. He probes tradition and experiment with author and presenter Jon Gower in this event celebrating his remarkable career.
In this spoken-word event PJ Harvey recites poems from her new book and discusses the lyric line with renowned British poet and writer Paul Farley. Orlam reveals Harvey as a gifted poet – whose formal skill and transforming eye and ear have produced a strange and moving poem like no other. Orlam is not only a remarkable coming-of-age tale, but the first full-length book written in the Dorset dialect for many decades.
A God at the Door, by poet and dancer Tishani Doshi, is an exquisite collection about nature and humanity to elevate the marginalised. Paul Farley’s latest eclectic poetry collection The Mizzy ranges from confusing encounters with tech, modernity and its accelerated rate of change, to the lives of others and their strange occupations. Conversation and readings with the founder of National Poetry Day and the Forward Prize, William Sieghart.
Ian McMillan is always at home in front of a crowd, and in this Hay Festival Verb he is joined by some of our most exciting writers, performers and poets to explore the idea of homeliness – literal or metaphorical – and to ask if writing can be a kind of home.
His guests are: the poet Lemn Sissay, whose latest book for children is a celebration of curiosity and belonging; Monica Ali, who casts her eye across family matters in her new novel Love Marriage; Daniel Morden, a consummate storyteller and performer, acquainted with all the myths of belonging; and Tishani Doshi, whose poetry and prose is alert to the possibilities of a home – in the poem or in the body.
Ian will also share a brand new poetry commission by a contemporary poet for the BBC's centenary – part of The Verb’s Something Old, Something New series.
A special event featuring words and improvised music with leading poet, author and raconteur Chris Tutton and harpist Anne Denholm.
Chris Tutton has published seven critically acclaimed collections of poetry. Named by Ned Sherrin as “the master of the short poem”, his work has also been described as “absolutely beautiful” by Alexander Waugh, with the Sunday Times lauding its “dramatic passion and dignity”.
Anne Denholm is one of the leading British harpists of her generation and served as Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales, 2015–2019. She has earned a strong reputation for her interpretations and powerful engaging performances across a variety of musical fields, and in 2020 was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.
Ian McMillan and guests explore language and memory and ask what we choose to write down -or forget. Joining Ian are Jennifer Egan, whose new novel The Candy House imagines wild technological possibilities for human memory; Allie Esiri brings us the words of long forgotten women poets in the anthology A Poet For Every Day of the Year, and Gurnaik Johal examines how we hand down cultural memories in his debut short story collection We Move.
Bestselling poetry anthologist Allie Esiri returns to the Festival to celebrate her latest anthology, A Poet for Every Day of the Year. Allie commences a journey through the calendar year, highlighting key moments and dates with poetry from some of the world’s greatest verse writers, read by leading performers.
What parallels are there between contemporary poetry and spoken word movements and hip hop’s past, present and future? Come chill and find out at the RAP (Rhythm And Poetry) Party, a nostalgic, no-clutter, no-fuss night of hip hop-inspired poems and favourite hip hop songs.
This special Hay Festival edition features event founder Inua Ellams and long-time friend and collaborator Theresa Lola going head-to-head, back-to-back, with DJ Sid Mercutio on the decks.
Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is a poet, playwright and performer. Theresa Lola is a British Nigerian poet, writer and editor.
Max Boyce celebrates the publication of the best of his selected poems, songs and stories with award-winning journalist Carolyn Hitt. When ‘Hymns and Arias’ rang out at Cardiff Arms Park some fifty years ago, the great Welsh anthems had found a companion and the valleys of South Wales had produced a new folk hero. Max Boyce captures the spirit and the story of the people of Wales with a warmth and charm that has made his words and music resonate with a worldwide audience. There is only one Max. Join him as he discusses his remarkable career.
Why view history through the lens of poetry? Which handful of poems best represent key elements in a nation’s past? How does one ensure a nation’s bicultural history is faithfully and effectively presented? And how can images enrich understanding? These are some of the questions considered during the course of this discussion between editor M Wynn Thomas and one of contemporary Wales’s most distinguished poets, Gwyneth Lewis. They address what poems can show us about our past that has eluded conventional history.
Catalyst is a radical spoken word album produced by Jimmy Page, featuring poetry written and performed by Scarlett Sabet, creating a powerful, and arresting sonic landscape. “Catalyst is a sonic manifestation of Jimmy’s innovation, our time together and spirit.”– Scarlett Sabet. “I believed that the poems featured here could display a new dimension to the spoken word, her spoken word and her genius.” – Jimmy Page.
Raymond Antrobus introduces All The Names Given, a stunning new collection of poems that mines themes such as history, ancestry, place and memory with passion and urgency. It has been shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and the TS Eliot Prize.
In 2019 the Jamaican-British writer was the first poet ever to be awarded the Rathbone Folio Prize for best work of literature in any genre, for The Perseverance, which also won the Ted Hughes award, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award, and was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize and Forward Prize. His poem Sound Machine was added to the GCSE syllabus in 2019.
The celebrated Welsh writers and poets read their work in a special evening for poetry. Clarke’s most recent book is The Gododdin: Lament for the Fallen, which charts the fall of 363 warriors in the battle of Catraeth, around the year 600 AD, when the men of the Brittonic kingdom of Gododdin rose to unite the Welsh and the Picts against the English, only to meet a devastating fate. Minhinnick’s new short prose book is Delirium, a kaleidoscopic collection in which poetry jostles consumerism, the implacability of the algorithm, local history, nature and much else.
Gillian Clarke’s work has been on the GCSE and A Level syllabus for more than 30 years. She has written numerous radio and theatre dramas, and translated poetry and prose from Welsh. Robert Minhinnick is a poet, essayist and novelist. A three-time winner of Wales Book of the Year, he has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and Ondaatje Prize (twice). He is co-founder of Friends of the Earth Cymru and Sustainable Wales.
Poet, biographer and literary historian Robert Crawford explores the early Eliot – before he was known for some of the most innovative and remarkable poetry of the 20th century – in Young Eliot: From St Louis to The Waste Land, the first volume of his magisterial biography of the revolutionary modernist, visionary poet and troubled man. Through letters, articles and other publications, combined with his own studies of Eliot’s work, Crawford portrays the poet’s growth and development, flaws and failings, and the significance of how Eliot permeated London’s literary circles between 1915 and 1922.
The long-awaited second volume, his upcoming book Eliot: After The Waste Land, tells the story of the mature Eliot, his years as a world-renowned writer and intellectual, and his troubled interior life, drawing on extensive new sources. Crawford celebrates Eliot’s legacy with editor and translator Daniel Hahn.