Grasmere literary gathering puts acclaimed women poets centre stage

Highly acclaimed poet-performer Patience Agbabi

Highly acclaimed poet-performer Patience Agbabi

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Arts correspondent

POPULAR poet-performer Patience Agbabi reads from her modern reworking of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales during next weekend’s much awaited Dorothy Wordsworth Festival of Women’s Poetry at Grasmere.

Patience will be in conversation with Judith Palmer, director of the Poetry Society, on Saturday at the Wordsworth Trust’s Jerwood Centre at 4.30pm, followed at 7pm by a poetry reading at St Oswald’s Church, alongside two other highly imaginative poet-performers - Forward Prize winner Emily Berry and Rita Ann Higgins, whose legendary raucous, anarchic readings, tell the stories of the Irish dispossessed in ways that are both provocative and heart-warming.

Running from Friday-Sunday (April 11-13) the festival - which celebrates the life and work of William Wordsworth’s sister Dorothy - is run by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who will introduce the evening readings plus read her own memorable poems on the final night at St Oswald’s Church (7pm). Sharing the spotlight with Carol Ann will be Sinead Morrissey, Poet Laureate of Belfast and winner of this year’s TS Eliot Prize, and award-winning Durham-based wordsmith Gillian Allnutt.

As well as readings, the grand gathering features poetry workshops, interviews with some of the visiting poets, plus a number of talks and discussion events. These include Writing Motherhood, a special event where three poets will read work inspired by their roles as mothers, and explore the relationship between motherhood and writing.

Featured will be Rebecca Goss, whose collection of poems Her Birth was shortlisted for the Forward Prize.

Other events include on Sunday (10.30am) Judith Palmer introducing some of the great poetry written by women to have come out of the First World War.

The full festival programme is available at or from the trust on 015394-35544.

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