Exciting range of events at Sheffield poetry festival

Suzannah Evans
Suzannah Evans

Literary City: The Sheffield Connection this week focuses on a returning festival. 

The Sheffield Poetry Festival, now rebranded as the Sheaf Poetry Festival, is back for 2019

and boasting an exciting range of events for poetry aficionados and newcomers alike.

Suzannah Evans, Creative Director of the festival, says: “We’ve been working hard to programme a vibrant combination of poetry, spoken word and cross-disciplinary events for

all poetry lovers to enjoy, and a friendly festival atmosphere. We want to make everyone feel

as welcome as possible.

“Our mission is to keep on bringing world-class poetry to Sheffield and to share inspiring, exciting voices with our audiences.”

It all kicks off with a launch event on 17 May, and then the festival will be spread over nine days, with a packed programme of readings, performances and workshops over the weekend, and the following week includes evening events, from a Wordlife celebration at the Abbeydale Picture House to a Sheffield poetry walk with Longbarrow Press and a poetry film night with Elephant’s Footprint.

Evans continues. “The festival started in 2011 as Sheffield Poetry festival and has been

biennial ever since. “We are particularly excited about our a poet-in-residence and young poet-in-residence this year, which we’ve never had before. Our poet-in-residence is Mark Pajak who will be bringing lots of poetry to unexpected places in Sheffield with poetry ghost walks and videogame collaborations, as well as a workshop and reading as part of the festival itself.” Pajak, whose work has appeared in The London Review of Books and Poetry London, has also received a Northern Writers’ Award and an UNESCO international writing residency. His first pamphlet, Spitting Distance, was selected by Carol Ann Duffy as a Laureate’s Choice and is published with Smith|Doorstop.

Evans says, “The festival is aimed at anyone who already loves reading, anyone who loves poetry, and anyone who thinks they might be interested and wants to learn more. We’ve also got workshops for those who enjoy writing poetry or want to give it a try!

“There’s plenty, too, for the poetry-curious. I’d suggest you try one of our combined events, where we’ve combined poetry with another art form, particularly if it’s something they’re interested in. We’ve got poetry and videogames, poetry and ghost-hunting, poetry and music, a poetry film night and a poetry walk out at Redmires.”

Poets are some of the friendliest people I know and always willing to welcome new people.”

The festival is partnering with small publishers such as The Poetry Business, Nine Arches

Press and Penned in the Margins, local poetry promoters and spoken word nights such as Verse Matters and Wordlife, and Hive South Yorkshire who work with poets aged 14-19 across the area. For more information visit the website is www.sheafpoetryfestival.com