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Enjoy a fine time at Reading's first poetry festival! – University of Reading

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Enjoy a fine time at Reading's first poetry festival!

Release Date 30 May 2013

The University of Reading is delighted to have organised Reading's first ever Poetry Festival which runs from Wednesday 5 June - Sunday 9 June.

During the five days the festival will encompass a broad range of events, from a children's poetry day (with John Hegley) and an exhibition focusing on the ‘look of poetry', to readings by, and conversations with, poets based in Reading and with visitors such as Iain Sinclair, Zoe Skoulding and Mark Ford.

"Reading isn't a town which many people identify with poetry," said Peter Robinson, Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Reading and co-organiser of the festival. "Yes, it's where Oscar Wilde did his time, but unlike, say, The Lake District, it's not immediately associated with outbursts of creativity and literary endeavour - despite fleeting visits by the likes of Coleridge, Rimbaud and Montale. The first Reading Poetry Festival looks set to change that."

Peter, himself the author of more than twenty books of poetry and criticism, added:  "The idea is to play up the strengths we have here, both in the town and the University, while at the same time making a point of Reading as a transit point, a place where writers from all over have moved through and left traces."

Most events take place in the Museum of English Rural Life, a building given to the University of Reading by local biscuit makers Huntley & Palmer, and a venue that reflects the themes of the festival.

A series of conversations programmed for the festival's long weekend include Leontia Flynn talking to Conor Carville about ‘Poetry, Politics and Nation' and Estha Jansma and Andy Houwen on ‘Poetry and Translation'.

"We're interested in exploring poetry and psychogeography, poetry and economics, city poetry and the pastoral," continued Peter. "The relationship between artistic and editorial decisions in poetry writing and publishing, in relation to particular populations, financial constraints, and interest groups is also among our key themes."

The exhibition launched during the festival also promises to offer a perspective on poetry as a visual form.

"It will show how attractive and strange poetry can be to the eye," said research fellow Natalie Pollard, Peter's co-organiser. "We suspend poems from the ceiling, project larger-than-life poems onto the walls, and display Edward Lear's cartoon blocks that accompanied his nonsense verse.

"There will be readings as well, with a selection of poets from Two Rivers Press and a bilingual reading of Italian poet Vittorio Sereni's work to mark the centenary of his birth joining events featuring Sinclair, Hegley, Ford and Skoulding."

Reading Poetry Festival takes place from Wed 5-Sun 9 June. See the festival's Facebook page for regularly updated information or visit call 0118-378-7801.



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