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Newcastle Poetry Festival


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Borders and transformations are the themes of this year’s Newcastle Poetry Festival.

This year, the festival is celebrating Transformations, in particular, exploring poetry as a site of change through the work of artists from all over the world whose practice challenges borders and boundaries.

Highlights for this year’s event include:

• Festival launch with Terrance Hayes, whose American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for Poetry. This collection considers America’s contemporary moment, its gun violence, racism, and the rise of its current President, through the lens of the sonnet form. 

• Festival lecture by Jamaican poet Ishion Hutchinson on the 19th-Century social reformer, activist, and former slave, Frederick Douglass, who visited Newcastle in 1846.

• Readings by renowned US poet Mary Ruefle, on a rare visit to the UK to discuss her ground-breaking experimental work 

• A dramatic re-enactment of the life of the great German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht with poet David Constantine and soprano Sarah Gabriel

• TS Eliot Prize awardee Hannah Sullivan who will be reading from her winning collection, Three Poems (Faber & Faber, 2018)

• Phoebe Power, winner of this year’s Forward Prize for Best First Collection with her debut Shrines of Upper Austria (Carcanet, 2018).

• The Northern Poetry Symposium Inter/Play, exploring poetry’s intersections with visual art, the digital and the body, on 2 May at Sage Gateshead 

• Prizegiving of the inaugural Newcastle Poetry Competition

• Plus films, digital sound installations, newly-commissioned prints, and more

More information here.