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Sheaf Poetry Festival

Annual celebration of the stage and the page moves online with workshops, talks and readings of world-class poetry.

Arundhathi subramaniam

Indian poet Arundhathi Subramaniam.

Vinod Velayudhan

The second annual Sheaf Poetry Festival returns this year in a brand new digital format. Taking place between 19 and 23 November, the festival will feature 17 events including poetry readings and workshops.

Events will be loosely based around five central themes: Young Poets & New Voices; Poetry, Wellbeing & Mental Health; Ecopoetry & Climate Change; Poetry & Community; and Poetry & Translation.

Young Poets & New Voices will feature work from Sheaf Poetry Festival’s Young Poet-In-Residence Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith (Fri 20 Nov), and from three emerging poets mentored under the Nine Arches Press’ Primers scheme.

There will be readings from three debut poets – Will Harris, Phoebe Stuckes and Tom Sastry – as well as a workshop run by Jonathan Edwards and Hive South Yorkshire for young people aged 15-25 (both Sun 22 Nov).

Genevieve Carver gevi

Genevieve Carver, Sheaf Poetry Festival Poet-in-Residence.

Under the Poetry, Wellbeing & Mental Health strand, Poet-in-Residence Genevieve Carver will present a workshop focused on meditation and creative writing. Carver will then join a panel discussion, featuring poet and mental health worker Ben Dorey and poets Sarah Wardle and Caroline Bird, to speak about her experiences with Sheffield mental health charity Flourish.

Abi Palmer will read from her poetry memoir, Sanatorium (Sat 21 Nov), which discusses chronic illness and healing through a series of mystical experiences.

Meanwhile, Carrie Etter and Caleb Parkin’s workshop (Sun 22 Nov) will engage with the environmental issues of our time, alongside J R Carpenter’s Writing The Wind workshop (Fri 20 Nov), and all three will read their own work during the festival.

We will also hear from Niall Campbell and Mona Arshi and, as part of the Poetry & Translation strand, Indian poet Arundhathi Subramaniam and Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish, "one of the foremost Arabic language poets of his generation" according to the New York Review of Books, with his translators Paul Batchelor and Atef Alshaer.

“In an age of fake news and fake facts, readers are keen to grab hold of a deeper emotional or intellectual truth and poetry is something that engages with this,” said Suzannah Evans, Creative Director of Sheaf Poetry Festival.

“We look to poetry in important moments – weddings, funerals, births – to express our feelings in the best possible words and actually, there are poems that can do this for all the moments of our lives, not just the big ones!”

Formerly known as Sheffield Poetry Festival and South Yorkshire Poetry Festival, Sheaf Poetry Festival has been a part of Sheffield’s artistic and cultural landscape for almost a decade.

Learn more

Tickets for Sheaf Poetry Festival are available on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis. All events will take place via YouTube, while workshops will take place on Zoom, with links sent out beforehand.

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