Lyra: Bristol Poetry Festival - Online April 14-25 2021

Wed, 14/04/2021 - Sun, 25/04/2021

Lyra - Bristol Poetry Festival is back this April, after receiving funding from Arts Council England to run a digital festival. The festival, themed around Reconnection, features local, national and international poets, including Dizraeli, Malika Booker, Phil Kaye, Travis Alabanza, Caroline Bird, Edson Burton, Vanessa Kisuule, Will Harris, Bristol’s City Poet Caleb Parkin, and many more.

Lyra Festival will take place from 14th - 25th April and include events, readings, writing workshops, panel discussions, a lecture, a film screening, and a poetry slam. Almost half of the events are free to watch, and several events will be captioned and BSL interpreted.

Lyra’s 2021 Festival Poet is Beth Calverley, poet, creative coach and founder of The Poetry Machine. Beth has a long track record of using her poetry to address vulnerability and loneliness and, over the past year, in particular, has been able to bring help and comfort to others. She will engage in further outreach work throughout April with Bristol’s local community groups, writing in response to their local parks and green spaces.There will also be a public call-out for poems about local parks and green spaces, so be sure to follow Lyra’s social media platforms to stay updated.

Words from Co-Directors, Dr Lucy English and Danny ‘Craft-D’ Pandolfi:

“We’re delighted to be able to offer this digital festival at this particular time. Many people have missed that feeling of sharing in the enjoyment of live art, but at the same time the influx of digital events has, in many ways, connected us more so than ever before. 

It has also made live poetry accessible to those who once faced barriers to this experience, and accessibility, inclusivity and representation are at the heart of what we believe poetry should be about. 

For this reason, we are delighted to be able to present a digital Lyra Festival 2021, and we invite audiences from far and wide to attend our events and take part in the writing workshops, meeting people from around the country and world in the process. 

This year’s festival theme is Reconnection, exploring ideas of community, collaboration and inclusion, as we find ways to reconnect to each other, to our shared histories, our local communities and our environment. Lyra aims to present and promote poetry in as many formats as possible, and this year’s programme of 16 events includes live readings, spoken word, poetry slams, writing workshops, panel discussions and a film screening, as well as a special workshop exclusively for NHS workers.”

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Festival Poet:

Beth Calverley is a poet, creative coach and founder of The Poetry Machine. Her poetry lives and breathes with tender recognition, as she holds your hand through crisp emotional landscapes. Beth co-creates poems with people via her supportive practice, The Poetry Machine. 

She collaborates with places of work, learning, care and play, helping people to express what matters to them most. Beth is Poet in Residence at University Hospitals Bristol & Weston NHS Foundation Trust and was published in These Are The Hands, the 2020 NHS anthology endorsed by Stephen Fry and Michael Rosen. 

She has been a Bristol Life Awards Arts Finalist, a Roundhouse Slam Finalist, and one of Rife Magazine’s ‘24 under 24’. A poem that Beth created for the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta was viewed over 60K times online. She has speed-crafted poems live on BBC 5 Live, one in conversation with Benjamin Zephaniah for National Poetry Day 2020 and another in response to listeners’ tributes to their loved ones on Valentine’s Day 2021. 

Beth has performed at iconic venues such as Birmingham Hippodrome, Bristol Old Vic and London Roundhouse. She has worked with the BBC, Sky, ITV, Oh Magazine, Ocado and The Prince’s Trust, as well as local authorities, hospitals, charities, universities, schools, festivals and amazing collaborators across the UK. Beth is also part of House of Figs, a music and poetry duo, and co-produces Milk Poetry, a nurturing platform for spoken word in Bristol. Her poetry collection, Brave Faces & Other Smiles, launched in December 2020 with Verve Poetry Press.

Photo shows Beth Calverley taken by Tamsin Elliott

Event location: 
Bristol .
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