Thursday 1 July 2010

July Theme

Hello everyone.

We are counting down to the start of the Festival tommorow... very excited.

July will be our last theme for a while due to the end of the festival and our summer holidays, but we will be back later in the year.

So with that said I am pleased to announce that the theme for July is ... Gold

The closing is 10am on Thursday 5th of August 2010.


Ledbury Poetry Festival

Thursday 24 June 2010

Sarah James

Sarah James is a prize-winning poet, short story writer and journalist, who has been widely published on the web, in anthologies and literary journals.

She was shortlisted in Templar Poetry 2009 Pamphlet and Collection Competition and had two poems shortlisted in The Plough Prize 2009.

Her first full-length collection Into the Yell is published by Circaidy Gregory Press ( this July. Sarah's website and blog can be found at

The mother of two young sons lives in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, and is very much looking forward to this year's Ledbury Poetry Festival.

Preparing by Sarah James


Even the scissors' tail is a ringlet
that curves to the hairdresser's finger.

Snip. Silver glints. Snip.
I sense movement, air swishing.

My curls drop; hit the floor
without a sound.

"Okay?" The stylist stops,
stands back. "When you're ready."

Silence slices her words;
reveals sharp edges.

I look in the mirror, adjust-
then nod.

Clippers buzz: my scalp bared
like the gash of bark scraped from a tree.

I watch fingers flutter around my head-
and wait for the sap to dry.

Sarah James

May winner

Hello everyone,

Many problems for the delay in posting our May winner, it's been a bit busy at Ledbury HQ!

I am delighted to announce that our winner is 'Preparing' by Sarah James.

Many thanks to everyone who entered, it was a tough decision but we hope that you agree with our choice.

Ledbury Poetry Festival

Thursday 3 June 2010

June Theme

We here at Ledbury Poetry Festival HQ are a bit baffled that it's June already... crazy.

So with another month comes another theme. For June our theme is...


Closing date for entries is 1st July 2010 at 10am.

Good luck

Thursday 20 May 2010

Helen Pletts - Nuncle

Helen Pletts has two collections of poetry, Bottle bank (2008) and For the chiding dove(2009), containing a total of 45 poems, published by

The title poem ‘Bottle bank’ was longlisted for The Bridport Poetry Prize in 2006, under Helen’s maiden name of Bannister. The poem was first published by Charles Christian on, the poetry and prose webzine, 20th June and again as a podcast 14th December 2008. Helen is a regular contributor to this webzine.

The title poem ‘For the chiding dove’ was translated into Italian by Gabriel Griffin and first published in ‘Poetry on the Lake Journal two’ (2009).

Helen’s sonnet ‘Medusa’ was published in Aesthetica Magazine Issue 20 and again in the Bottle bank collection.

She also has fiction published in Czech and English, ‘Phiddipides’ – Now and then, A celebration of the Prague International Marathon, (Tempo Team Prague, 2007).

Helen’s most inspiring influence - the words of W.S.Graham, ‘The Nightfishing’ being one of her favourites. Sylvia Plath’s ‘Tulips’ another.

The purring sound of much loved Abyssinian cat, Bobby, accompanies her on keyboard with a flip of the tail now and then !

Her much neglected blog site exists at which you are more than welcome to explore. Without the unerring support of Helen’s family and dearest friends there would be nothing but blank pages ! She teaches creative writing, currently in Prague, and from this autumn she will be running creative writing workshops in Cambridge.

Hello everyone,

Hope the sun is shining where you are!

Many thanks to our winner Helen who supplied us with a short biography!

Friday 14 May 2010

Nuncle by Helen Pletts


If I am his
Then Sadness is
My cloak.

He gets me down.
Even the bells frown,
as he hobbles at my side.

My shoes
are over-twisted curlicues.
He cramps my style

And in his grey beard, the hopeless
Hollow out all care for laughter,
Backwards in the face of Gloucester.

April Fool Winner

Hello hello,

After a long period of deliberation again... we are pleased to announce the winner of our April 'The Fool' theme is Helen Pletts with 'Nuncle'. Well done Helen, what a wonderful piece.

Ledbury Poetry Festival

Thursday 6 May 2010

The Fool

Thank You to all those who entertained us with their 'Fool'.

The winning entry will be posted soon.

Ledbury Poetry Festival

May Theme

So... for May we thought we'd mix it up a bit and give you an illustration instead of a word.

The deadline is 10 am on Thursday 3rd June.


Ledbury Poetry Festival

Wednesday 5 May 2010

April Deadline Time


Just to let you know that the deadline for submissions for 'The fool' is at 10 o'clock tomorrow (6th May).

Thursday 29 April 2010

April Closing.

Hello Everyone.

Just to let you know the deadline for our April Theme 'The Fool' is the 6th of May.

Many Thanks to all those who have entered!

Ledbury Poetry Festival

Thursday 22 April 2010

Chris Kinsey

Chris Kinsey was BBC Wildlife Poet of the Year in 2008. She received an Arts Council of Wales Writer's Bursary in 2000. Her collection, Kung Fu Lullabies, Ragged Raven Press, came out in 2004 and was well received by critics. She launched Cure for a Crooked Smile, Ragged Raven Press, in November 2009. A further collection, Swarf is forthcoming: from Smokestack Books. A commissioned sequence of poems Houndlove is published in Poems of Love and Longing, Pont Books, Gomer Press, 2008. Eight of her nature poems for children aged 7-11 will appear in All Through the Year also to be published by Pont Books. Chris has also written a stage play Feathering the Dark which was given a rehearsed reading at Aberystwth Arts Centre as part of the 2009 Travelling Light Festival. Her short film script Legless was shortlisted by TAPs ( Cymru) for production by ITV's It's My Shout in 2008. Her digital story, Houndsplay is published on the BBC Wales website. She has had a story and poetry read on BBC Radio 4 and Radio Wales. Chris also writes poetry reviews and a regular Nature Diary for Cambria. Chris has two rescure greyhounds and has been dubbed Greyhounds' Poet Laureatre. She is a member of Greyhound Rescure Wales, Academi, Powys Arts Forum and the Board of Ty Newydd, The National Writing Centre for Wales.

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is a writer who worked in newspapers, radio and television and later as a freelancer, speacialising in rural issues. Some earlier poems were broadcast on Radio 4, and he began writing poetry and short stories again in 2008. He likes in rural Yorkshire.


Hello everyone,

Hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather! We thought you would like to know a bit more about our winning poets so here's a short biography for Chris and Brian...

Ledbury Poetry Festival

Sunday 11 April 2010

Brian Clark


The church clock stopped five times altogether
on Wednesday when all the talk was of the weather
at The Easingwold Wayfarers annual dinner.

There's been A recurrence of people urinating
in the Market Place; there is no natural cover
because it is extremely well lit
The News can exclusively reveal
with CCTV pictures to prove it
(Luckily Beck's ducks taken to safe haven).

But Axeing councillor's teas is tinkering
when the W.I offers a salvo of soups.
Intrigued by the Fury at school plan for pub
Relieved that Forced rhubarb's name protected
Oh for An Evening with Pam Ayres (sold out)
Now that Garden waste is back on rota.

Despite Triumph in Pony Club Quiz and a
Silver in World's Original Marmalade Contest
Still the Call for ideas to boost town.
Dear Sir, I read with dismay and distress...
Dear Sir, I really must protest...
Dear Sir, I am depressed...

Source: The Easingwold Advertiser and Weekly News, March 5, 2010

By Brian Clark

Chris Kinsey


Market Day 23rd February 2010.

No more echoing screams, no greasy thrills,
all the bright vans, pistons and pulsing lights
of the funfair struck overnight.

Across town, the sheds and pens of the cattle market
were razed. Tesco built fast under arc lights.
Yesterday was Grand Opening.

Ont the bridge, a man, smart-for-town
stares down at the stony shallows,
leans uncomfortably far over ferry gliding ducks.

Others are leaning too, they list into air
thickening with cross-hatching snow.
The last gentleman's outfitters is going slowly:

Viyella reduced, hound's-tooth checked caps half price.
The Seconds Shop went months ago.
Currys is clearing out too.

Walking on through the shrinking street market,
a muscle in my back is a little too tight,
not painful, but tense enough to pull me out-of-true.

When I return, the man is still leaning over the bridge,
grainy behind snowflakes and blurred by cloud.
Someone lobs a three quarters ciggy from a van

and he snaps into focus, snatching it before it dampens.
"That's better." He smiles and goes,
leaving a gap for the wind's harmonics.

Cries get louder. A lone goose flies close to the hill's rim
unpicking the seam where weather fronts merge.
It beats for its flock and down falls.

by Chris Kinsey

And the winner is!

The votes are in and the huge pile of entries have been read, re-read and deliberated over.

Due to the overwhelming response to our March theme of 'Small Town' we have decided to crown two winners. Thank You to all those who entered - it was a tough decision - but hopefully you will agree with the two we have chosen.

Ledbury Poetry Festival

Thursday 1 April 2010

April's theme

Hello Everyone!

Our April theme is 'The fool'

Wednesday 31 March 2010

Lines are now closed.

Thank You to all those who submitted a piece for our March Theme, the response, quality and imagination were overwhelming!

We are busy reading so keep posted to find out the winner and of course the new April theme.


Ledbury Poetry Festival

Thursday 11 March 2010

Closing Date

Hello everyone!

Just a post to say that the closing date for our March theme - 'Small Town' - is the 30th of March.

Thank you to all those who have already entered.

Ledbury Poetry Festival

Thursday 11 February 2010


Our theme for March is Small Town

Calling all poets!

Every year the Ledbury Poetry Festival receives thousands of entries to the poetry competition, but there can only be one winner. So with this blog we want to offer a more fun and informal place where we can feature your poems. You can also post responses to the winning poem each month. Feel free to email us ideas for future themes, either an image or a word or two. We know there are loads of brilliant poems out there waiting to be written in response to our monthly themes. So take a tea break and get writing!