All students under the age of 25 are offered special discounted prices for selected events in the 2017 Cheltenham Poetry Festival. All these events can be ordered:
- online at Ticket Source at the prices given in red below (plus 90 pence booking fee)
- in person by visiting Suffolk Anthology bookshop (no booking fee is charged)
- by email from the festival box office.
Chapter and Verse with Tyler Keevil and D.D. Johnstone
Sponsored by The University of Gloucestershire.
Thursday May 4, 7pm, Smokey Joe’s, £6/5 Special student offer £3
Tyler Keevil is is a novelist, screenwriter and short story writer from Vancouver, Canada, and the author of three award-winning books and : Fireball, The Drive, and Burrard Inlet. Tyler has been praised for his lean muscular style, and gripping plots and has been described as “extending and enriching the lineage of Hemingway and Carver” by Niall Griffiths.
D.D.Johnstone is the author of three fiercely original novels. His work has been described as , Of Peace, Love and Petrol Bombs, John L. Murphy said “this genial, engaging, yet serious search for meaning in a commodified global culture deserves wide acclaim”. The Warwick Review described The Deconstruction of Professor Thrub as “an ambitious, erudite” ( The Warwick Review) and as work with a profound interest in the world as we find it” and The Secret Baby Room, a page-turning mystery suspense thriller, was described in Northern Soul, as “unput-downable” ( Northern Soul )
Dr Michael Johnstone (who writes under the name D.D. Johnstone) is University Teaching Fellow and a senior lecturer in Creative Writing at The University of Gloucestershire. Tyler Keevil is a senior lecturer in Creative Writing.
Flash Fiction Showcase
Thursday May 4, 8.30pm, Smokey Joe’s, free.
Students and staff from the Creative Writing course at the University of Gloucestershire read new flash and micro-fiction inspired by poetry. Don’t miss your chance to hear some exciting contemporary writing Hot off the press! Led by Michael Johnstone, senior lecturer in Creative Writing at The University of Gloucestershire.
How to Analyse Poetry with John Hughes
Friday May 5, 11am, Oxfam, £8/6 Special student offer £4
John Hughes teaches literature at the University of Gloucestershire and has published widely, particularly on Thomas Hardy and William Wordsworth. In this enlightening and interactive poetry-appreciation class, you will have the chance to explore poems under John’s expert guidance and leave with a greater understanding of how to analyse poetry.
Matthew Sweeney and Ben Parker
Friday May 5, 7pm, Smokey Joe’s, £8/6 Special student offer £4
Matthew Sweeney is one of our greatest living poets, renowned for the visionary brilliance of his work and his bold and lyrical voice. Ted Hughes praised him for the “playful free,. dDream flight” of his poems. Horse Music was described as “a wonderful collection, madcap, laconic, and provocative too'” (The Independent), and Manchester Review described Sweeney as “a hugely talented poet writing at the height of his powers”. Matthew reads new poems from My Life as a Painter alongside prose poems from King of a Rainy Country, which explore the current edgy state of Paris and respond to Baudelaire’s prose poems, Le Spleen de Paris. Ben Parker reads from his startling and energetic first collection The Amazing Lost Man (Eyewear 2016), in which he explores real and imagined territories and reports back in poems that are both darkly funny and vividly descriptive.
God Save The Teen
Friday 4 May 5, 8.30pm, Smokey Joe’s, £7/5 Special student offer £4
Andrew ‘Mulletproof’ Graves brings his new show to Cheltenham. In his hilarious yet heartfelt new show, acclaimed performance poet Andrew ‘Mulletproof’ Graves recounts his past life as a council youth worker, offering tales of drugs, relationships, bullying, parental break ups, starry-eyed punks and disappearing goths. Interwoven through this narrative are his own childhood stories about trying to come to terms with an aloof and difficult single father, who is unsympathetic towards his ‘poncey’ poetic leanings.
Dylan Thomas – New Discoveries with John Goodby
Saturday 6 May 6, 3.30pm, St Andrew’s, £7/5 Special student offer £4
Internationally acclaimed Dylan expert, poet John Goodby, reveals exciting new Dylan poetry, correspondence and photos. John Goodby is a critic, poet and also a world authority on Dylan Thomas, editor of the new annotated edition of the Collected Poems (2014) and author of The Poetry of Dylan Thomas: Under the Spelling Wall (2013). He is the Director of the Dylan Thomas Research Project.In this UK premier event internationally acclaimed Dylan expert and poet, John Goodby reveals exciting new Dylan poetry, correspondence and photos. Highlights include a glimpse of the recently-discovered Dylan Thomas notebook, a reading of a mysterious unknown letter, and an account of the Thomas family by their GP. John will also talk about Dylan’s recently discovered poem The Dream of Winter- and the haunting photos that accompany it. A must for every Dylan fan!
Odious Vex and Friends – comedy
Saturday May 6, 7pm, Smokey Joe’s, £7/5 Special student offer £4
Spend an hour with Swindon’s number one rapper and paintballer Odious. Expect some surprising characters and strange poets, all of whom are friends of friends of Odious’s Mum. Join us for urban poetry inspired by injuries sustained during skateboarding, how war isn’t very nice at all and the dangers of your Gran looking at your Facebook account!t.
Slam Dunkum! A Slam Champ Showcase with Jasmine Gardosi, Al Brunker, Lexia Tomlinson
Saturday May 6, 8.30pm, Smokey Joe’s, £7/5 Special student offer £4
Jasmine Gardosi is the current Cheltenham Poetry Festival Slam Champion and last year’s Mix It Up Midlands Slam Champion. She has appeared on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb and was a finalist in the Out-Spoken Poetry Prize for Performance 2015. Al Brunker is the current Ledbury Poetry Festival Slam winner renowned for his hilarious, edgy and unpredictable performances. Lexia Tomlinson exploded onto the scene at the Future Poets festival and since then she then has gone on to perform and write for God’s Property, Hushed Tones, Next Gen Fest, Epic Encounters, Wychwood Festival and, most recently, Cracked. Don’t miss the rare chance to see three smoking hot slam stars on one stage!
Michael Scott with Sam Loveless & Alex Breeze
Sunday May 7, 2pm, The Playhouse Lounge, £7/5 Special student offer £4
Startlingly experimental and ground-breakingly original, Michael Scott is one of the UK’s most interesting poets. (“This man could write the sequel to Citizen Kane on the back of a fag packet, and still surpass the original”– Dangerous Minds). Michael reads from Little Usherette – a dazzling collection of prose poems. Joining Michael are two exciting new voices in contemporary poetry – Sam Loveless and Alex Breeze.
Rego Retold and The Days that Followed Paris – Paul Stephenson and Owen Lowery
Sunday May 7, 7pm, The Playhouse Lounge, £7/5 Special student offer £4
Explosive events on the world stage and the dramatic, sometimes violent images of Paula Rego are themes explored in this powerful poetry pairing. Paul Stephenson has been praised for his “‘thrilling”‘ poems and Poet Billy Collins described his worksaid his as “Funny and quite serious at the same time. The colloquial tone and “satiric brilliance might make a reader wish to hear more, ideally over a pint or two.” Paul reads from his startling new pamphlet The Days that Followed Paris, a poetic response to the events of Friday, 13 November 2015, the night of a series of co-ordinated terrorist attacks. when Paul Stephenson was at home in Paris. Owen Lowery, described by The Guardian as a “‘remarkable” ‘ writer, reads from Rego Retold – his highly acclaimed collection inspired by the work of artist Paula Rego.
This Here Guitar – Phil Bowen and Rory Waterman
Tuesday May 9, 8.30pm, Muffin Man, £7/5. Special student offer £4
Take a walk on the wild side with two adventurous and anarchic poets.
Phil Bowen is author of Variety’s Hammer, Starfly and Nowhere’s Far – New & Selected Poems. His 20-minute oral poem, All the Stuff, was described as a “work of genius” by John Cooper Clarke. Selima Hill said “reading him is like suddenly being asked to dance”. Phil reads from his ebullient new collection This Here Guitar, thirty-three poems infused with the spirit of Rock ‘n ‘Roll. Rory Waterman‘s first collection Tonight the Summer’s Over (Carcanet) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Prize 2014 (“A convincing, affecting collection” – Stand.) Rory reads from his hard-hitting, and dramatic pamphlet Brexit Day on the Balmoral Estate (“Great poetry, but poetry to be read with a health warning” – Stride).
Sponsored by The Oldham Foundation.
Stanza Room Only – Tina Sederholm and Ray Antrobus
Friday May 12, 7pm, The Playhouse Main Stage, £8 Special student offer £4
The “satirical yet life-affirming” Tina Sederholm is a slam champ, raconteur, performance poet and comic. She’s been described as “a poet and performer of exceptional prowess” and “completely spellbinding” by Edinburgh Fringe Review. Raymond Antrobus is a British-Jamaican performer praised for his “crackling Bukowski-esqe humour” (Sabotage Reviews) and “graceful and finely crafted poetry” (Kwame Dawes). Don’t miss your chance to see two electrifying spoken word stars on one stage.
In the Slammer – the 7th Cheltenham Poetry Festival Slam!
Friday May 12, 8.30pm, The Playhouse Main Stage, £10/8 Special student offer £5*
Join us as we make sure that rhyme serves its time at the 7th Cheltenham Poetry Festival Slam! For one night only, we offer a criminally good, fast and furious spoken-word stand-off. Come and cheer on your favourites as they go head-to-head, or simply sit back and enjoy the oral dexterity and literary prowess of some of the UK’s hottest slam stars as they do battle in an adrenaline-fuelled war of the words. Book early as this is set to ‘cell’ out.
John Hegley’s New & Selected Potatoes
Saturday May 13, 7pm. The Playhouse Main Stage, £12/8 Special student offer £7
“Comedy’s poet laureate” (The Independent) John Hegley returns to Cheltenham Playhouse to perform seriously funny, cleverly comic poems on everything from love, family, France, art and the sea to dogs, dads, gods, taxidermy, carrots, spectacles and – of course – potatoes. John Hegley has captivated and devastated audiences all over the country and been described in Time Out as “Fabulously funny” and in the Sunday Times as “Scandalously talented”. “One of the funniest men alive” – The New Statesman.
Saturday May 13, 8.30, The Playhouse Mains Stage, £12/8 Special student offer £7
Stuart Maconie is a national treasure – BBC radio DJ, television presenter, “pop professor” (one of the UK’s leading authorities on music and popular culture), writer for many publications ranging from Mojo to The Guardian and best-selling author of highly acclaimed books such as Cider With Roadies and Never Mind the Quantocks. He has been described as being “as funny as Bill Bryson and as wise as George Orwell” by The Observer. Stuart also appeared on Mastermind answering questions on 20th Century poetry. Don’t miss your chance to join this much-loved star of radio and TV, when he returns to perform a new stand-up show inspired by poetry!
Chapter and Verse presents The Future, Chris Hemingway, Aliyah Hasinah, Vicky Hampton.With Open Mic.
Sunday May 14, 11am, Waterstones, free
Get set for an exciting fusion event of slam poetry and prose. Chris Hemingway is the author of the darkly witty novel The Future, it’s been described as “The Man Who Fell to Earth meets The Office”. Aliyah Hasinah is a spoken word artist, filmmaker and historian, 1/3 of Brum based podcast Who Got the Juice? and co-founder of ART!VIST UK. Vicky Hampton is a welsh poet, who is gaining wide recognition for her lyrical, and erudite work.
Mary Shelley – a talk by Fiona Sampson
Sunday May 14, 2pm, St Andrew’s Church, £8/6 Special student offer £4
Mary Shelley, the was the daughter of philosopher William Godwin and feminist and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft, . She was married to and wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley, she is . Mary is chiefly known for her novel Frankenstein., Yyet she was also a remarkable travel writer, literary historian, poet and short-story writer. Editor and critic and poet Fiona Sampson is the author of On the White Plain: the search for Mary Shelley. Please join us for a fascinating glimpse into the life of this iconic writer.
Cheltenham Improvisers present: Brave New Worlds – music and poetry
Sunday May 14, 8.30pm, Smokey Joe’s, free.
The legendary Cheltenham Improvisers Orchestra are back, and this time they are offering a taste of utopia, and maybe even a dystopia or two! The orchestra offers an exciting, experimental soundscape inspired by contemporary poetry. With guest poets Adam Horovitz, Angela France and Nigel Mcloughlin. Why not bring a poem of your own to share and let our talented musicians take you into another world?
Poetry In Motion Film Showcase with Redcliffe Films
Monday May 15, The Playhouse Mainstage, 8.30pm, £7/5 Special student offer £4
Diana Taylor of Redcliffe Films presents this ground-breaking showcase of new poetry films which includes the first screening of Burne Jones and the Fox – poetry cinema inspired by Festival Director Anna Saunders’ new Indigo Dreams collection. The event also includes a live performance by poets Melanie Branton, Tim Vosper, Kay Baxter and David C. Johnson and the announcement of the winner of our Poetry In Motion Competition.