Dub, slam and sacred – the line-up for Lichfield’s first poetry festival revealed

Published on: Tue, 17/09/2019 - 15:01

Dub, slam and sacred – poetry in all its forms will ring out from Lichfield Cathedral this autumn as it hosts its first poetry festival.

The Cathedral has just unveiled the programme for The Word and it includes some top names as well as a series of creative workshops for young and old.

Benjamin Zephaniah – best known for bringing Dub Poetry into British living rooms, will open the festival on Sunday November 24.  Michael Symmons Roberts, poet, novelist and librettist, who has just co-written a major new musical production about the Peterloo Massacre, will judge the Cathedral’s poetry competition and close the event after the prize-giving on Thursday 28 November. 

The poet, singer-songwriter, academic and priest, Malcolm Guite will lead an evening of Songs and Sonnets; poetry by candlelight will bring a multi sensory feel to the festival with a range of performances throughout the building all set to the glow of candlelight, and former poet in residence at Manchester Cathedral, Rachel Mann, anglican priest, poet and feminist theologian will bring A Kingdom of Love to the event. Rachel will also run a morning workshop on the sacred and the profane. 

Staffordshire poet laureate Emily Rose Galvin, a writer and performer, will run a creative workshop on the Moon Landing Anniversary theme exploring the Mythology of the Moon. Poetry slam champion and performance poet, Emma Purshouse will bring her unique slant on all things spoken in a special workshop plus there will be a pizza and poetry slam evening for younger people on Monday. 

No newcomer to innovative art exhibitions, it is the first time Lichfield Cathedral has held a Poetry Festival and this five day event is part of a year of creativity inspired by the Moon Landing anniversary. 

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, said: “This is an immensely exciting “first” for the cathedral.

“The moon landing in 1969 was a momentous year for mankind – that one small step opened us up to tremendous possibilities, of journeys to be made, and explorations to encounter.

“We have recreated the moon landscape in our nave, inviting people to walk upon it, and used art to tell its story, but we also want to use words to tell the bigger story of humankind’s light in the darkness, “ he added.

The Cathedral is also calling for new poems to be submitted for a festival competition.  The deadline in National Poetry Day on 3 October. 

 Find details here:  https://www.lichfield-cathedral.org/the-word/the-word-poetry-competition.

Tickets for performances and more information on The Word programme can be found here: