Stafford Arts Festival – 6th September

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Photographs © Tom Wyre 2014

An Invitation z st chads

I was invited by Tom Wyre (Stafford Poet Laureate) to take part in Reams of Dreams, a poetry event at St. Chad’s in Stafford Town Centre as part of Stafford Arts Festival on the 6th September.

I lived in Stone (a small canal town close to Stafford) ten years ago and at Jo Bell’s 52 Stratford-Upon-Avon Poetry Festival Event I met fellow 52ers John & Liz Mills, who live in Stone. We talked about me visiting them, I hoped I could, Liz and I thought I might make it in the holidays, but the summer was jam packed. Then I found out John was also performing at this event and our reunion was booked.

A Pilgrimage to a Previous Home

It was strange going back to Staffordshire, I have not been back for ten years, Stone had sprawled, changed a lot but was still familiar and it felt like I had never left once I was back there. I drove around the town and bought some Oatcakes from the General Store. Saw the pub we used to drink in and drove past the end of the road I used to live in.

I arrived late – I had hoped to get a day in Stone, but I had accepted some work and had to take some wedding clothes shopping back for a refund, I spent way too much on clothes that I hope won’t fit me soon. Although the pre-Wedding diet/ exercise plan hasn’t gone so well since the summer. My younger brother gets married in early October.

John and Liz were wonderful hosts and great cooks too, we had a fabulous night and I was wined and dined. We had an early start the next morning as the event started just after 9am. John was one of the ‘red eyed poets’ as he said.

Reams of Dreams z st chads 3

A celebration of poetry and spoken word at St Chad’s Church, Stafford as part of the Stafford Arts Festival hosted by Staffordshire’s Poet Laureate Tom Wyre. In beautiful settings with wonderful acoustics, many of the best local wordsmiths will showcase their work throughout the day, culminating with the announcement of Staffordshire’s Young Poet Laureate 2014-15.

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STAFFORD ARTS FESTIVAL POETRY at St Chad’s Stafford today at 9.30am – 3.30pm — Free Entry and please come along to listen to some of the finest local and UK poets.

© Tom Wyre 2014

A wonderful line up it was too! Many of my poetry friends made the trip across to Stafford for this event too, including Surjit Dhami, Mal Dewhirst, John Mills, Gary Carr, Al Barz, Mike Alma, Mogs & Fergus McGonigal.

STAFFORD ARTS FESTIVAL POETRY —-

SAT 6TH SEPTEMBER 2014

“LINE-UP” ST CHAD’S CHURCH, GREENGATE ST, STAFFORD.

START / RBW Writers (TBC) /

Public Open Mic Slot 09.30 – 09.45

Surjit Dhami 9.45
Janet Jenkins 9.55
Jack Edwards 10.05
Mal Dewhirst 10.15
David Calcutt 10.25
John Mills 10.35
Gary Carr 10.45
Runaway Writers 10.55–11.10
Brendan Hawthorne 11.10
Cherry Doyle 11.20
Kuli Kohli 11.30
Kezzabelle 11.40
June Palmer 11.50
Phil Binding 12.00
Al Barz 12.10
Mike Alma 12.20
Mogs 12.30

LUNCH 12.40– 13.00

The Young Poet Laureate Applicants 13.00–13.30
John Williams 13.30
Stoke Poetry Stanza 13.40 -13.55
Nina Lewis 13.55
John Lindley 14.05
Ben Wilkinson 14.15
Fergus McGonigal 14.25
Barry Patterson 14.35
The Lichfield Poets (Tribute to Jan Arnold) 14.45–15.00
Tom Wyre 15.00
Natalie Cotterill 15.10
Presentation of Young Poet Laureate 15.20

  z st chads4
It was a fantastic day, an overload of poetry and audience who came and went. The Young Laureates were good, glad I didn’t have to judge that one! A great event to be part of and lovely to see the town alive with Arts and hear Poets I had not come across before.
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