The third annual Ted Hughes Poetry Festival in Mexborough takes place this weekend from Friday 23rd – Sunday 25th June, at Mexborough Business Centre on College Road.
Chair of the group who organises the festival, Steve Ely, commented, ‘We have a fabulous line up of performers and activities this year programmed for this year. Our headliner for Friday 23rd is Simon Armitage, poet, broadcaster, Professor of Poetry at Oxford and Sheffield Universities and one of the nation’s best and best loved poets. Also reading that evening will be Forward Prize winning poet Vahni Capildeo, fantastic local poet and performer Mike O’ Brien, and Ian Parks and Mick Jenkinson will present Songs of our Town.’
Steve continued, ‘Saturday’s programme is equally exciting. Poet and scholar Andy Armitage will open the day with a creative writing workshop based on the writings of Ted Hughes’s first wife, Sylvia Plath, and the Plath-theme will be continued in the early afternoon by short readings from three multi-award- winning younger female poets — Melissa Lee-Houghton, Kim Moore and Charlotte Wetton. After the readings the poets wil be joined by Andy Armitage and American scholar Heather Clark — the world’s leading expert on Sylvia Plath, whose biography of the poet will be published next year — for a panel discussion on the relevance of the work of Sylvia Plath to younger women poets today. Heather will round off the Sylvia Plath Afternoon with a talk on Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath’.
‘Creative Producer Dominic Somers will lead poetry–related activities and giveaways on Mexbrough High Street between 11 and 1.
‘The Saturday evening session is headlined by the legendary dub-poet and social activist Linton Kwesi Johnson, who came to prominence in the late seventies with his searing and incendiary album Dread, Beat and Blood. Linton’s work inspired a generation and he and has remained a leading figure in the poetry world. He is the only black British poet to have his work published in the Penguin Modern Classics series. Programmed alongside Linton in something of a London invasion are poets Tim Wells and Janine Booth — witty, wry and committed poets and electric performers. The highly-rated Middlesbrough based folk band Peg Powler complete the bill’.
‘The main festival weekend ends on Sunday morning with the ever popular ‘Ted Hughes’s Paper Round’ performance trail, led by Steve Ely and Dominic Somers. The trail — based on Hughes’s childhood paper round — will this year incorporate the installation of two amazing sculptures commemorating Hughes, (by artists Shane Green and Jane Robbins) commissioned by the THP(SY).’
The festival will also be facilitating an art exhibition and competition on the Hughesian theme of ‘transformation’ led by artist Peter Olding.’
‘This the third Ted Hughes Poetry Festival we have organised in Mexborough,’ Steve said, ‘and we believe it will build on and surpass the achievement of the previous two, in which we programmed performers of the stature of Ian McMillan, Ian Clayton, David Morley and Ted Hughes’s daughter, Frieda. Ted Hughes was one of the greatest 20th century English poets and we are proud to celebrate the fact that he was ‘made in Mexborough’ (Hughes lived in the town between the ages of 8-21, attending Schofield Street Junior School and Mexborough Grammar School, where he wrote his first poems) by developing a literary festival of national stature in the town in which he was formed as a poet.’
Tickets for this years festival cost between £5 – £8 and can be bought by clicking HERE or are available on the door.