A poetry performing platform – by Daniel Burton

Poetry has the potential to move audiences to tears, make people laugh, and tackle some of the most difficult topics in our world. Every poet, whether they’ve been honoured as a Poet Laureate or whether they simply enjoy it as a hobby, has a voice. And that voice should be heard.

At Litfest, we love hearing passionate poets delivering their work and wowing expectant audiences. Poetry is what gets us going, and it’s always a great feeling helping aspiring poets along their journey.

 It’s always been our mission to make poetry and prose accessible for everyone. We’ve seen poets perform sets about everything from mental health through to environmental awareness and everything in between.

“How do you give these poets a platform?” we hear you ask. Through our festival and fringe events!

Each year, our festival committee bring together a week-long extravaganza of open-mic nights and slams which are open to anyone who has something to share. Throughout the last eight years, we’ve seen an amazing mix of poets with a range of abilities and each time, it’s been a pleasure to see them grow and develop.

It’s not unusual for us to see performers reappearing at our fringe events, like our SpeakEasy open mic night for example, after the festival draws to a close. And we’re always delighted to welcome them back time and again!

Connecting poets and the public is a key part of what it means to be the Worcestershire Poet Laureate. We crown a new Laureate each year, and each time they’ve left a lasting impression.

This year’s Laureate, Nina Lewis, took poetry to a global scale. One of her many projects, A Tale of Two Cities, brought together poets from here in Worcester, UK, with poets from Worcester, Massachusetts. And what an amazing collaboration! The UK poets were paired up with a poet from the USA. One would send a poem to the other and the other wrote a response based on that poem and so on, until each pair had four poems in total. Nina then set about bringing them all together in one collection which was released in a special edition of Nina’ own Contour magazine, which she launched as part of her laureateship.

A Tale of Two Cities was a fascinating eye-opener on both sides of the Atlantic. It showed just what is possible through collaboration and the power of poetry – bringing together whole countries and cultures!

But it’s not just through our events that we have given poets a platform to perform and develop their work; it’s through our people, too. Everyone involved in LitFest, from the committee teams to the poets who compete in our slams, has poetry in their hearts and are always happy to give advice to aspiring poets.

So for a taste of the platform we give to poetry and prose writer extraordinaires, come along to our festival events taking place from the 10th to the 16th of June (the full programme of events is available here) to see what Worcester LitFest and Fringe is bringing to this brilliant city.

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