A busy old weekend in Yorkshire

It’s a busy weekend in Yorkshire for poetry. Big ROMP kicked us off on Friday night in Rotherham with the usual warm welcome and fantastic poetry. Poets young and old read poems, and shared stories and beautiful acoustic music. I performed a couple of new poems: “Sweetest Victory” and “People inside People”. ROMP Anthologies are coming very soon, so watch this space.

Rachel at ROMP

While a A Firm of Poets headed to Vespertine in York, we headed off to Words in the City (Bradford). We drove past the new poem from the Sharrow Chanters, put together by Ralph Dartford from lines written by people at Sharrow Festival. Cynically, it perhaps pays lip service to the local community as another shiny new student halls building pops up amidst the scuffle of London Road. But it’s also great to see more public poetry in Sheffield: and this one written by people who live in the area, who will hopefully recognise their lines in the sky.Chantwriters poem

Heading out of the city, we hoped to catch some of the poetry events in the Family Yurt in Bradford. High winds unfortunately meant that the tents had to be taken down, but still, it’s fantastic to see Ilkley Literature Festival bringing events to Bradford, and it would be great to see this grow even bigger next year. Saltaire-based poet, Zaffar Kunial gave an inspiring performance of his work with Jo Shapcott. His poem ‘Poppy’ visibly moved the quiet audience.

Zaffar Kunial

The organisers were still seeking poets for their teatime slam, so I headed there for a last-minute performance of my “Wrinkly Bellies” poem. A recording of Wrinkly Bellies is now also up on A Firm of Poets website.

Today looks set to be great again, with readings from Don Patterson, Imtiaz Dharker, Tony Harrison and more.

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