Sunday, September 06, 2009


Be part of the art of the spoken word! The Essex Poetry Festival 2009 wants you. As well as the festival's usual commitment to bring the best performers in contemporary poetry and spoken word to Essex, this year there will be more chances for you to get involved.Whether you have never written a poem before, or if you have been writing for years, there will be the chance to take part in writing and performance workshops, and Open Mic opportunities at various events.

The Festival opens with 'Howl', inspiring spoken word from David J. plus support from Tim Turnball, Chris Hicks, Ruby and her Whorses; at the Cramphorn Theatre. If you want to perform, learn how with Luke Wright. A veteran of the Edinburgh Fringe, Luke has performed his one man poetry shows all over the country.

This one day workshop, hosted by Chelmsford Borough Council, will take beginners from page to stage, culminating in a public performance on the Cramphorn Theatre stage. There will be plenty more chances to practice these new found skills at Open Mic spots throughout the festival.

If you want to try your hand at poetry or to brush up your creative writing skills, there will be poetry writing workshops at Libraries all over the county, from Loughton to Clacton and from Harlow to Southend.

Three Essex poets Derek Adams (Hullbridge), Tim Cunningham (Billericay) and Adrian Green (Southend-on-Sea) will be reading from their latest books at Rochford Library on October 2nd. Forward prize nominee and Poetry Business winner Allison McVety will read with Susan Utting at Southend on October 7th.

On October 10 the Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford once again provides the venue for the Big Day of Poetry, an annual event for poetry lovers from Essex and beyond. A chance to meet up with old friends, make new friends, meet virtual ones! In the afternoon you can meet the people behind tall-lighthouse press and listen to their guest poets.

Sign up for a slot at the Open Mic and perform your poems to friendly, appreciative audience. Help to dress live artist Vicki Weizt, from Colchester, in words.

There will also be readings from Manningtree's Sally Festing, Ilford born Joanna Ezekiel, and former Billericay resident Jeremy Over.In the evening, competition judge Jo Bell introduces the winners of the Essex Open Poetry Competition.

The headliners this year include 'groundbreaking' spoken word artist Inua Ellams, Forward Prize winner Kathryn Simmonds and all the way from Germany the incomparable John Hartley Williams.

On October 11, Chelmsford's 'I Scream Sunday' join up with Black History Month for 'Celebration! In Black and White', Spoken word and poetry performance from Joshua Idehen, Musa Okwonga, Efua Sey Koi-Larbi, Bryan Wilson, Dee Mardi, Anita Marie Sackett, Martin Reed and Adrian Green, music from Lee (from the Doll Set Tones) and jazz trio Zhong, plus Poetry Open Mic. Templar Poetry Prize winner Katrina Naomi and Denis Ahern from Stanford-le-Hope will be reading at poetrywivenhoe on the 22nd October

The Essex Poetry Festival is funded by the Arts Council, receives support from both Essex and Southend Libraries service, and from Chelmsford Borough Council Arts Development.