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Nottingham Poetry Festival, featuring Lemn Sissay, Anthony Anaxagorou and Vanessa Kisuule, goes online

A celebration of poetry in covid times will take place, free and online, from today.

Nottingham Poetry Festival will be streaming all events live until a week on Sunday, November 22.

This year we all need a culture boost as well as a morale boost, so all the performances, talks and workshops will be free.

Lemn Sissay. Photo: Slater King (42930052)
Lemn Sissay. Photo: Slater King (42930052)

All people need to do is register via the events pages on the festival’s website.

The festival’s artistic director, Georgina Wilding, said: “Being able to spend money on arts and culture may not be something everybody can do right now so we decided to make everything free.”

With the current climate having a vast and varied effect on everyone’s lives, from political to personal, there is change for everyone.

Vanessa Kisuule. Photo: Jon Aitken (42930054)
Vanessa Kisuule. Photo: Jon Aitken (42930054)

At Nottingham Poetry Festival, they want to ensure that they not only account for this, but answer to it.

With international, national and local artists, the festival will be taking poetry into Nottinghamshire schools online in response to the government’s decision to make the study of GCSE poetry optional from 2021.

They are set to touch on the importance of poetic education, rebel against the notion that poetry is optional, and showcase contemporary poetic voices.

Anthony Anaxagorou (42930050)
Anthony Anaxagorou (42930050)

The festival will include spoken-word performances and workshops from Lemn Sissay, Henry Normal, Anthony Anaxagorou, Vanessa Kisuule, Ruth Padel, Nick Makoha, Pete the Temp, Debris Stevenson, GOBS Collective and more.

There is a panel discussion, In Defence Of Poetry, hosted by John Berkavitch.

The festival wants poets, performers and word lovers to come together to keep poetry alive. With covid-19 having had a major impact on the arts, they hope to still celebrate the power of poetry.

The festival has also been awarded National Lottery Funding by Arts Council England.

The full digital livestream programme will see Georgina Wilding, who was Nottingham’s first Young Poet Laureate, lead people through the festival’s ten days of spoken-word performances, panel discussions and readings.

She said: “It’s 2020 and the importance of poetry, art, literature, and music is pressing.

“So, from Friday 13 to Sunday, November 22, Nottingham Poetry Festival will be hosting performers, educators, entertainers, debaters, and even wrestlers, who are all set to dazzle us with their talent.

“More than that, they will empower us, give us new skills and perspectives, and embolden us to use our voices, share our stories, respond to the times, and have a good laugh doing it.

“Thank you to Arts Council England for enabling us to deliver this festival, and supporting us throughout the many changes and challenges that the pandemic has presented. ”

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