Heritage & Culture

Syntax Poetry Festival

Peterborough’s festival of poetry and spoken word, 1–30 November

Peterborough has a proud history of poetry and spoken word. Our city has one of the oldest poet laureate schemes and we have a host of poetry nights and workshops that happen throughout the year – all led by the city’s poets. In 2018 arts organisation Metal held a dinner for the poets and asked them what they hoped to achieve over the next few years. The feedback was that they wanted to host a poetry festival, one which would bring new poets to the city, and take poetry out onto the streets, to our best loved places, truly a festival that would inspire the next generation of poets. One year on and, with support from Metal and funding from Arts Council England, the poets are about to launch their first festival called Syntax.

They have created a programme of fantastic events including top wordy entertainment from our city’s best talent through to international best sellers like Andrew McMillan and Mark Grist. There are events suitable for families, budding writers, word lovers, and those who enjoy a good night out. There is a surreal silent films night with live poetry, a streetart and poetry battle and workshops translating poetry into different languages. The festival will open with the crowning of the next poet laureate on 1st November.

The laureate will be supported to write new poetry for events across the city’s calendar and to put on workshops and poetry nights for new audiences. Thanks to funding from ‘Youth Inspired’ they will also be launching a Young Poet Laureate competition too. In addition to events and workshops there will be 13 poetry residencies throughout November. three poets will be ‘in residence’ throughout the month, meeting and working with visitors to Peterborough City Market, the Allama Iqbal Centre and Nene Park. There will also be 10 one day or ‘Flash’ residencies in places like takeaways and launderettes.

The aim of the residencies is to take poetry and poets to places where people already meet. So, you might expect to see a poet whilst you buy your veg or walk the dog! You can come and hear the work created in all the residencies at the Syntatics Residency celebration on 28th November at the Undercroft, Serpentine Green.

To find out more, look out for the Syntax brochure for all event information or check out the website syntaxpoetryfestival.wordpress.com or Facebook / Instragram at Syntax Poetry Festival. We all look forward to welcoming you to the festival!

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