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Poetry is alive and kicking in Tunbridge Wells

Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival

We can officially declare the first Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival a huge success! After an evening of spoken-word poetry on Friday at The Sussex Arms, we were all set for a day of poetry on Saturday.

The Sussex Arms Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival

Based at Trinity Theatre studio, the day started with Jill Munro’s workshop for emerging poets. Using colours as inspiration, poets were able to explore what makes a poem, synaesthesia and produced some excellent poetry to work on.

We were full for our ‘How to get published’ seminar. With publishers and poets from Against the Grain and Paper Swans Press on the panel, the discussion focused on issues like the dos and don’ts of submitting, how to craft a pamphlet/collection and where to send your work.

How to get published Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival

The afternoon session was an advanced poetry workshop with Abegail Morley, which was sold out — apologies to those on the waiting list. There was lots of very positive feedback from the poets and we’re looking forward to seeing some of the work started in publication!

Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival

We drew a sizeable crowd for the poetry reading — seven local poets read for us and there was certainly a variety of topics covered with Siân Thomas and Jill Munro evoking much laughter with their poems about…well, let’s just say, the nether regions!

Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival Lawrence Wilson, Jill Munro, Siân Thomas, Jessica Mookherjee, Jane Lovell, Abegail Morley, Louisa Campbell

Lawrence Wilson, Jill Munro, Siân Thomas, Jessica Mookherjee, Jane Lovell, Abegail Morley, Louisa Campbell

The day rounded off at The George for some poetry chit-chat and a much needed glass of wine!

Don’t forget, the Poetry Trail is still at large — it’s a wonderful was to spend an afternoon, wandering down towards The Pantiles, reading poetry and doing some shopping and sampling on the way.

Huge thanks to all who attended and any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Please fill in the form below.


Day 1 — Poetry Trail and Poem for a Pint


Apart from all the rolling admin, I have spent the afternoon on the Poetry Trail. Sarah Salway has organised a brilliant trail from Chapel Place to The Pantiles, where you can wander through the streets, reading poetry and stopping off for a bit of shopping (or a G&T) on the way.

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This evening, we offered a pint for a poem. Louisa Campbell performed her spoken-ward version of The Happy Bus and then we had an open mic with local poets performing ‘for a pint’.

Many thanks to The Sussex for hosting us.


We’re off!

The first Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival has officially started!

Our Poetry Trail, organised by Sarah Salway is in full flow — take a wander down the High Street and Pantiles and see if you can spot (and read, of course!) all the poems. Trail details can be found HERE

Tonight is our first event, in the Sussex Arms with local spoken-word poets Dan Culmer and Louisa Campbell performing and all welcome to offer their own poetry in a bid to be swap ‘a poem for pint’. Starts 7pm in The Sussex basement.

We were featured in The Times of Tunbridge Wells this week  and one of our organisers, Sarah Miles, speaks out about the role of poetry in the community (p51).

Our workshops and other events kick off tomorrow morning at Trinity Theatre Studio. There will also be a pop-up bookshop, so even if you’re not attending workshop, come along and support local poets and buy a book!